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Road Builders: FAST stabilizes highway funding, bumps DOT purchasing power

Sources: American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

An ARTBA analysis of the five-year, $305 billion Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) that President Obama signed December 4 notes: “While the total core highway investment increase during the [five-year] life of the bill will be just over 15 percent, yearly assessments are a better gauge of market impact.

“Highway investment will jump 5.1 percent in FY 2016 and then slow to rates of growth between 2.1 percent and 2.4 percent for [FY 2017–2020]. Investment levels will exceed projected inflation by a total of $1.7 billion over five years and beat projected construction material cost increases by $1 billion over the same period. As a result, federal highway investment will see narrow increases in purchasing power through 2020, but the FAST Act’s biggest impact on the highway construction market will be the stability it provides states and the private sector.”

“This critical bill gives state and federal governments the funding certainty essential for informed infrastructure investment,” concurs National Stone, Sand & Gravel President Michael Johnson. “Our industry is ready to get to work and help improve the condition, efficiency and safety of America’s roads, highways and bridges. We commend members of Congress for seeing the value of a robust infrastructure to foster economic growth, maintain our global competitiveness and improve the quality of life for Americans.”

“This is the first long-term highway bill since 2005,” says Portland Cement Association President James Toscas. “Congress has finally proven to the American people that our nation’s transportation infrastructure is a priority.” Among FAST provisions cement and concrete interests proposed, he adds, are authorization of a federal study to analyze the impact of pavement stiffness on vehicle fuel economy; reauthorization of the Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies program; and, Hours of Service exemptions for ready mixed concrete truck drivers.