Modest rise in transportation construction forecast for 2018

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Updated Dec 5, 2017

Shutterstock 159970964Transportation-related construction activity is expected to increase next year after dropping in 2017, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

The association predicts an annual increase of 3.2 percent for 2018 compared to an expected 2.8 percent drop this year.

The largest market segment – public road projects by state and local governments – is expected to rise 2.4 percent after declining 6.4 percent in 2017.

“The bright spots in the market continue to be airport terminals, public transit, Class 1 railroads and private driveway, street and parking-lot construction associated with residential and commercial developments,” ARTBA Chief Economist Alison Premo Black says.

Construction activity will vary by state, with California, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Virginia and Washington experiencing the most activity. Construction activity is expected to decline in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada and Oklahoma.

Overall, Black says, “the market is forecast to grow in 20 states and Washington, D.C., and slow in 23 states, with the remaining seven expected to be relatively flat.”

Here are some highlights from Black’s 2018 forecast:

  • Work on private highways, bridges, parking lots and driveways will increase from $62.4 billion in 2017 to $63.3 billion in 2018, and will continue to grow in the next five years.
  • The public bridge and tunnel construction market is expected to increase slightly in 2018, to $31.3 billion. Work in 2017 is expected to be $30.5 billion, down from $33.1 billion in 2016.
  • Public transit and rail construction is expected to grow 4.6 percent increase.
  • Subway and light rail investment is expected to reach a new record level, increasing from $7.7 billion in 2017 to $8 billion in 2018.
  • Airport terminal and related work, including structures like parking garages, hangars, air freight terminals and traffic towers, is expected to increase 14 percent. Runway work, which has been down the last few years, is forecast to increase from $3.6 billion in 2017 to $4.1 billion in 2018.