2006: Record Year for Transportation Construction Market, ARTBA Top Economist Says

WASHINGTON – The 2006 U.S. transportation construction market was the most robust in more than 20 years with the value of work on highways, bridges, airports and transit systems up 15 percent over the last year, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

Fueled by increased federal, state and local highway investments, a $2.3 billion congressional appropriation for repair work on highways damaged by Hurricane Katrina and greater investments in freight rail, the total value of construction performed on transportation projects is expected to hit a record $106 billion in 2006, up from $92 billion in 2005, says ARTBA Vice President of Economics and Research Dr. William Buechner.

The value of subway and light rail construction has hovered around $3.5 billion for the last five years. A number of major projects are in line for federal financing in Fiscal Year 2007, but the impact on construction probably won’t occur until 2008 and later.

ARTBA expects no breakout from the $3.5 billion construction level in 2007.

Meanwhile, the value of freight rail construction work is on track to total $7.9 billion in 2006, up more than 20 percent from $6.6 billion in 2005. Rail construction is largely privately financed and is driven by the volume of freight traffic.

As long as the economy keeps growing, this market should also grow, according to ARTBA.

– U.S. Newswire