The latest annual rate of construction spending has been released and is projected to exceed $275 billion. The U.S. Census Bureau recently detailed figures on nonresidential, taxpayer-funded projects. What can be expected from this investment?
Infrastructure, with special emphasis on highways, bridges and tunnels, local roads, and water utilities, has dominated construction headlines. From the commuters that rely on this infrastructure to simply get to and from work, to those who work in and serve the construction industry, like fastener distributor www.bacoent.com , everyone is eager to see a real infrastructure update underway. There have been numerous setbacks and standstills year after year, even as essential structures continue to deteriorate and congestion worsens.
Highway and street construction is expected to cost $93.5 billion and additional transportation projects are projected to cost $31.7 billion. Those projects will gain the bulk of the funding along with education projects, which will take $72.5 billion of the share. Primary and secondary schools in particular will be given $46.7 billion.Spending on state and local airports has been boosted to $14.5 billion after a long stagnation from 2011’s amount of $9.16 billion. Corrections facilities funding has declined to $4.6 billion, in part due to the prominence of privately built and owned prisons. Public parks and campgrounds, civic and community centers will see some of the biggest funding cuts. Funding for hospitals and other medical facilities will also be on the decline.
Though nationwide pushes for updated infrastructure projects have dominated headlines, true progress is rooted at state and local levels. Even as state-level lawmakers are more willing and able to push legislation that equates to action, including gas tax increases, funding for many projects remains short of pre-recession levels and far below levels needed for substantial improvements. In addition to raising gas taxes, public agencies are considering other funding sources that could be derived from motorist activity.
Even if funding were abundant and at the ready, there are still construction industry issues that stand to hinder infrastructure progress. Labor shortages, rising material costs, and problems adapting buildings to a more sustainable model for increasing urban populations are pressing concerns.