Photo courtesy of AECOM. 

By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor ARTBA

The U.S. transportation construction market is likely to see 4 percent growth in 2016, the result of the expected passage of the first long-term federal surface transportation bill in a decade, increased investment from state and local governments, and continued strengthening in the U.S. economy, according to ARTBA’s chief economist Dr. Alison Premo Black.

Black, who released her forecast during a Dec. 2 webinar for analysts, investors, transportation construction market executives, public officials and the news media, said the 2016 market will hit $208.3 billion, up from $200.5 billion in 2015. The five-year federal transportation bill, if approved by the House and Senate, could be signed by the President as early as this week, and will provide much-needed stability for the highway, bridge and transit markets after a string of short-term extensions, Black noted. She added that the modest increase in federal highway and bridge investment in 2016 will help the program keep pace with changes in inflation, materials and project costs. Federal funding accounts for an average of 52 percent of state department of transportation capital outlays for highway and bridge improvements.

Black outlined the expected growth in highway and bridge construction in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and analyzed the outlook for railroads, transit, airport runways and terminals and ports and waterways. The full 2016 forecast is available for purchase at the ARTBA store for $150.

In addition to Black’s forecast, ARTBA senior vice president of government relations Dave Bauer explained major provisions in the five-year, nearly $300 billion “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST)” Act agreed to by Congressional leaders on Dec. 1 and what it means for the transportation construction market in 2016 and beyond.