Apr 23, 2018
ARTBA Expects New Appropriations Bill to Boost the Market–A Bit
Good news for asphalt plants and crews!
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), expects the FY 2018 transportation appropriations to give the market a modest boost this year.
The $1.98 billion package was approved by Congress March 21 and includes funds for federal highway and bridge obligations by the state transportation departments. It’ll be distributed to the states through the 2015 FAST Act’s Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, in addition to the existing $900 million FAST Act increase for the core federal highway program.
The bill also included $1.55 billion in new funding for the Federal Lands, TIGER Grant programs, and bridge projects in rural areas, as well as $1 billion for federal Airport Improvement Program projects and an additional $150 million for transit capital projects.
States have until September 30, 2021 to put their share of that new money under contract, though, which ARTBA said is making it difficult to pinpoint exactly how much the influx of cash could affect the market. Some states may put money towards projects this year; some may wait.
According to ARTBA’s Senior Vice President & Chief Economist Alison Premo Black, ARTBA’s econometric model projects the best-case scenario, where the entire $1.98 billion is under contract by Dec. 31, 2018. If that were the case, it would result in a $600 million (roughly 0.5 percent) boost in the market this year.
“Under this scenario, the remaining $1.4 billion of the obligations would spend out over 2019-21,” Black said, adding that this scenario hinges on three factors:
- all 50 states and the District of Columbia are able to program the unanticipated new money this year;
- they all are able to provide the required state matching funds; and
- all the projects to be funded can be put out to bid and awarded before the end of this year.
Those are some lofty goals, but we hope ARTBA’s right. Whether modest or robust, up is up and we’re alright with that!
For more detailed info on the appropriations bill, ARTBA recommends reading this article.