There is early evidence of a slowdown in state and local highway and bridge construction programs as uncertainty about the federal Highway Trust Fund continues, according to ARTBA’s analysis of contract award data from McGraw Hill.  State and local governments awarded just under $12 billion in highway and bridge contracts in the first quarter of 2014, compared to $13.7 billion in the first quarter of 2013, when adjusted for inflation and material costs.

Absent new revenues, the federal aid program would not be able to support any new projects in fiscal year 2015, which starts October 1.  At least a dozen states have publicly said they will need to consider canceling or delaying projects during the 2014 construction season if Congress does not resolve the situation soon.

The slowdown is widespread, with 31 states and Washington, D.C., awarding fewer highway and bridge contracts than they did a year ago.  Awards were up in 18 states and within five percent in two states.

Contract awards are a leading indicator of future work in the industry as projects get underway.   Detailed data by state and mode is available as part of ARTBA’s market subscription reports.  For more information, contact ARTBA’s Lital Shair.