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March 4, 2013News for contractors and the construction industry

  Top Story 
  • Building boom hits Va.; $14B worth of transportation projects
    Virginia is experiencing a construction boom and has about $14 billion worth of transportation projects under construction or in the procurement process. Several large mixed-use projects have been prompted by the Metrorail expansion outside Washington, D.C. The state is also embracing more green construction and had 170 projects LEED-certified in 2012. Virginia Business (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Infrastructure & Project Focus 
  • Calif. unveils $6.5B North Coast Corridor Program
    The California Department of Transportation and the San Diego Association of Governments have unveiled a $6.5 billion North Coast Corridor Program, a proposal to build new express lanes on Interstate 5 and add a second rail track along 27 miles of North County coast. The project, which encompasses Camp Pendleton to La Jolla, also calls for improvement of lagoons and enhancement of coastal access by adding bicycle and pedestrian paths. San Diego Union-Tribune (3/1), KSWB-TV (San Diego) (3/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New $1.5B proposal to redevelop Brooklyn sugar site
    Two Trees, the current owner of 11 acres in New York that includes the former Domino Sugar site in Brooklyn, have proposed a $1.5 billion project for the site. It would include redevelopment of the Domino building, plus construction of four other buildings and several acres of public parks. There would be residential, office and commercial space. Capital New York (3/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report: Keystone XL would have minimal impact on environment
    The construction of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline wouldn't accelerate oil sands development in Canada, according to a draft report from the U.S. State Department. The report, which was welcomed by industry groups and Republicans, is intended to spark a "public debate," said Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs. "No matter how many times [the project] is reviewed, the result is the same: no significant environmental impact," said Marty Durbin, executive vice president of government affairs at the American Petroleum Institute. The Hill/E2 Wire blog (3/1), Reuters (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Hot Topics 

Top five news stories selected by AGC SmartBrief readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
  Economic Update 
  • Cuts to federal construction programs will exceed $4B
    More than $4 billion in federal construction projects would be eliminated under mandatory spending cuts that took effect March 1, according to Engineering News-Record's review of the Office of Management and Budget report. "These indiscriminate cuts run the risk of undermining the fragile recovery in demand many contractors are just now beginning to experience," said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America. "It is hard to encourage major new private sector investments in capital projects when Washington can't even find a way to avoid fiscal crises of its own making." Engineering News-Record (3/2), Modern Distribution Management/Economy blog (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Construction spending declined 2.1% in January
    A 2.1% drop in construction spending was recorded in January, reaching an annual rate of $883.3 billion, according to the Commerce Department. The decrease, in public and private construction, was the largest since July 2011 and indicates weak economic growth this quarter. Reuters (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovation & Green Building 
  • NYC plan looks to energy upgrades to meet 2050 emissions goal
    The "90 by 50" plan of the Urban Green Council in New York City seeks to reduce the city's carbon emissions by 90% by 2050 through energy retrofits on existing buildings, according to this article. These upgrades would include the use of better insulation, triple-paned windows, heat pumps and other techniques that minimize heat loss and save on energy use for residential and commercial buildings. The plan also calls for increased waste reduction and improved wastewater treatment. (3/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New software smooths collaboration on construction projects
    Collaboration is important on building projects and much software exists to enhance it, at least in part. cProject offers new web-based software to provide general contractors and subcontractors with a more seamless "flow of communication and information throughout all levels of the construction project," according to this article. The goal is to "help improve the productivity, quality, and profitability for teams." Constructech (free registration) (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy Watch 
  • Senate group seeks to move ahead on immigration reform measure
    The bipartisan Senate group tasked to create a comprehensive bill on immigration will soon release a timeline for its legislation, in response to subtle pressure from other senators who want to see a bill unveiled before the month ends. "I think the problem for immigration reform will be about future flow, access to future labor," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the group. "The reason you have 11 million illegal workers is that lot of employers can't find labor, so [we've] got to address that." The Hill (3/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Association News 
  • Construction spending level tumbled in January from upwardly revised December total
    Construction spending snapped a nine-month string of monthly gains with a sharp decline in January but still rose from year-ago levels, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by AGC of America. Association officials cautioned that "across-the-board" federal spending cuts known as sequestration, which took effect Friday, along with a possible shutdown of the federal government later this month, could hit construction harder than most sectors and dampen demand for needed projects. "At first glance, January was a bad month for construction, with a sharp drop in private nonresidential spending, along with small dips in residential and public construction," said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. "However, the January figure was higher than the year-ago level. Moreover, steep upward revisions today in the preliminary numbers for November and December suggest January may ultimately prove to have been positive, as well." Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • March/April issue of Constructor magazine now available
    Introducing AGC’s 2013 President Paul Diederich
    The digital edition of the March/April issue of Constructor magazine is now available. This issue includes a feature story on AGC’s 2013 President Paul Diederich, president of Industrial Builders in Fargo, N.D., and how Diederich has grown up with AGC and a passion for advancing the industry. This issue also includes a preview of the 2012 Annual Report from AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr, a look at the recently launched Constructor Marketplace, and a fascinating look at off-site modular construction and how it is improving the safety and quality of projects today. You can read Constructor on your desktop, tablet or smartphone and stay in the know. The digital edition contains the same articles, images and ads as the printed copy in a convenient format that mimics the print version. To stay up to speed on industry and association news, be sure to follow Constructor on Twitter and subscribe to Constructor Monthly. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret."
--Henri Frédéric Amiel,
Swiss philosopher, poet and critic

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