Associated General Contractors of America Chief Economist Ken Simonson said the election brought "a huge growth in uncertainty," but he's optimistic that the industry will continue to expand. Speaking at AGC's annual conference, he noted that a labor shortage continues to be a problem but said the industry is working to recruit a new generation of workers.
New York needs about $80 billion over the next two decades to upgrade its wastewater and drinking water systems. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature are working on $2 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act to fund some improvements, a move supported by environmentalists, economists, unions and others.
A New York University research team is working to develop artificial intelligence that aims to provide more precision to autonomous vehicles. The team is collaborating with Here and its cloud-based HD Live Map system to "precisely match what the car sees with what's in the cloud database," says research assistant Yi Fang.
President Donald Trump will present his ideas for expanding infrastructure construction in the US when he addresses Congress next week, but one report states that it could be 2018 before Congress actually adopts legislation. Press secretary Sean Spicer did emphasize, however, that public-private partnerships "will be the cornerstone of a robust plan to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure."
The National Association of Women in Construction is trying to recruit more women into the industry and will celebrate National Women in Construction week starting March 5. Kaylah White, a former NAWIC chapter president and now executive director of Associated General Contractors of America's Middle Tennessee Branch, said the industry is about more than pounding nails and needs project managers, accountants, office managers and more, as well as work crews.
The latest benchmark highlighting the strength of the US labor market is the four-week average of initial unemployment claims. The figure fell 4,000, to 241,000, last week, the fewest claims since July 1973.
Transit-oriented construction projects are becoming popular around the country, and that has pushed major municipalities to invest in transit center upgrades. Projects will modernize facilities in places such as New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and many will add more amenities, making them attractive for more than just catching a train or bus.
Judge Bernard Labuskes rejected an attempt by environmental groups to stop construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline, but a full hearing on the petition is still scheduled for March 13. Pre-construction work has started on $2.5 billion, 350-mile natural gas project, and environmental groups are concerned that too much damage will occur before the hearing.
TriCal Construction is proposing to build a 53-story dual-brand hotel across the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center. The project, designed by Gensler, would include 1,024 guest rooms, restaurants and a rooftop bar, but it could take up to three years for the city to approve the project.
The Trump administration is moving forward with a policy to increase immigration enforcement, and about 13% of the construction industry's workers were undocumented in 2014, the Pew Research Center estimated. "If you have fewer and fewer undocumented [workers], at the end of the day it's going to have an impact on projects," said Bill Wilhelm, president of R.D. Olson Construction in Irvine, Calif.
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