By Dr. Alison Premo Black, chief economist, ARTBA

State and local governments continue to move forward with transportation construction projects, despite the broader economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. While a few areas have suspended construction work, these instances have been relatively isolated. As of this time, states are continuing with scheduled bid lettings and openings in March.

The economic impacts of the pandemic on transportation construction activity are not yet known. The most recent data on state and local government contract awards, through February 2020, indicates the value of transportation awards in the first two months of the year was up 7.6 percent, led by increases in highway, transit and waterway awards.

Additional federal investment through the annual appropriations process and continued growth in state and local government transportation programs drove overall market growth in 2019. Transportation contractors completed nearly $154.2 billion in construction work in 2019, according to the latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau. This was up over 8 percent from 2018.

The association will continue to monitor market trends as they emerge, including industry employment, any potential supply and material disruptions, state and local tax revenues and federal highway investment.

For more in-depth state and market information, visit ARTBA’s Transportation Construction Market Intelligence Service.