Category Archives: Construction

America’s Government Is Gridlocked. Its Roads Don’t Have To Be.

This summer, roadway construction season will not be interrupted after all, as Congress passed another “patch” to the Highway Trust Fund to take us up to May of 2015. But how do we expect the U.S. DOT to plan and implement a long-term infrastructure investment program for our nation with nine-month term funding authorizations, after which no funds can be spent without another act of Congress?  How can the states rely on the Federal government as partner and make commitments to address their multi-billion capital maintenance and investment needs with these short-term funding extensions and no long-term resolution or direction in sight?… More

TEMPORARY HELP FOR THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND – BUT THE FUTURE IS STILL UNCERTAIN

As nearly every media outlet in America has reported, the Congress last night approved a $10.8 billion transportation bill that will pay for highway and transit projects for the next nine months.  It’s good news, sure.  In practical terms, it means that transportation funding will continue to flow past today’s deadline.  That matters to anyone interested in a project that is funded with Federal monies, and in Massachusetts,… More

Transportation Revenue for Massachusetts – A Reward for Ten Years of Reform

Labor Day weekend marks the end of what for some will be remembered as the summer that brought net new revenue to the Commonwealth’s transportation system.  Others see it as the logical end of the reform effort.  Still others will focus on the begining of a new phase of transportation debate – with the rivarlies and lack of funding put aside (for now), let’s discuss what gets fixed and what gets built and why.  … More

Alternative Delivery Rising?

A rising tide lifts all boats, but will it also cause owners to jump ship from their favorite project delivery methods?  That’s the premise of a recent ENR article on the alternative delivery market.

Traditional hard-bid, design-bid-build contracting became difficult to resist for many owners during the Great Recession, when hungry firms submitted low bids to keep busy.  The alternative delivery market fell sharply as a result,… More

Lessons Learned: The ASCE Report Card and Smart Infrastructure Improvements in Massachusetts

Earlier this week, the American Society of Civil Engineers released its quadrennial Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, and the message for 2013 was undeniable: “Needs Improvement.”

The Report Card gave the nation’s infrastructure a D+ overall (although in a potential silver lining, ASCE did note that this was an improvement from the 2009 grade of a solid D).  ASCE estimates that the United States needs $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next seven years to bring its transportation,… More

Will the Court Decide There is a Taking Even When Nothing Happens?

The United States Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, the most significant regulatory takings case that has been before the Court in several years.  Koontz wanted to develop his land.  Florida law required that, to do so as proposed, he offset any harm to protected wetlands on his property by either revising his development proposal to reduce its overall environmental impact or mitigating any remaining harm through creating,… More

Cliffs and Ceilings Getting In the Way of Construction Forecasts

In late 2012, McGraw-Hill Construction (MHC) released its forecast for the U.S. construction industry in 2013 and its outlook was generally positive.  MHC predicted a 6% overall increase in construction starts, slightly better than the estimated 5% increase in 2012 although still not enough to bring the industry within shouting distance of pre-recession highs.  The expected areas of growth are in housing and private nonresidential building, with institutional building and public works continuing to drag. … More