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February 13, 2013News for contractors and the construction industry

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  Infrastructure & Project Focus 
  • $6.9B XpressWest HSR project awaits loan approval
    The $6.9 billion XpressWest high-speed rail project between Victorville, Calif., and Las Vegas is awaiting approval of a $5.5 billion federal loan request before construction begins, according to XpressWest COO Andrew Mack. The group applied for a loan in December 2010 and there's an average 19-month completion time for Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan applications, added Mack. If approved, construction could start within a year. The project would take five years to finish. (Las Vegas) (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Station Casinos reveals sketch of $800M Calif. casino project
    Station Casinos has unveiled the design of the $800 million Graton Resort and Casino outside Rohnert Park, Calif. Construction of the casino began in June and workers "are going at lightning speed," said Chris Knerr, business agent for Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 300. "They've had the luxury of good weather and they haven't missed a beat." The casino is slated to open later this year. The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.) (2/12)
  • N.D. construction industry benefits from oil production boom
    The oil production boom in North Dakota is continuing to spur rapid economic growth in the state, analysts say. Since 2009, employment has soared more than 60% in the Bakken Shale area's 12 counties, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. As a result of the influx of workers, the city of Williston saw "$470 million in construction and remodel permit valuations" in 2012 and the construction of 12 new hotels since 2010. Fox Business (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Update 
  • Sandy aid to N.Y., N.J. could drop with "sequestration" cuts
    The automatic cuts to federal spending scheduled to take effect next month could reduce the federal aid for recovery from Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey by nearly $3 billion, officials said. "None of it right now is as important as protecting the hard-won federal funding," Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said of potential across-the-board cuts in other budget areas. New York Post (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • N.Y. lenders open credit lines for multifamily, other construction loans
    Banks and lending firms in New York have opened up credit lines for multifamily rental buildings over the past year and a half or so. Now they are looking at commercial projects such as hotels, condos and selected office and retail ventures because the real estate market is slowly recovering and loan default rates are declining. "There is plenty of debt capital available and as we bid on transactions there is a lot more competition than there was 12 months ago, and certainly more than 24 months ago," said Bill Cotter, division manager at Wells Fargo Commercial Real Estate. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovation & Green Building 
  • Researchers to test earthquake effects on old masonry buildings
    A large-scale earthquake simulation will be conducted to evaluate how unreinforced masonry buildings in New York react to earthquake stress. Researchers at the University at Buffalo will use a shake table to mimic the 2011 Virginia quake that hit the East Coast. They will test a pair of 14-foot-high walls composed of materials such as 100-year-old brick to replicate construction of row houses common in the area. (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 3 green-building standards assessed for GSA facilities
    The General Services Administration is evaluating three green-building rating systems to see which one it will follow for construction and upgrades to federal facilities. The agency is looking for public input on the LEED 2009 rating system, the Green Globes system and the Living Building Challenge. The move has raised concerns that this could weaken the influence of LEED on the GSA and prompt it to shift to the Green Globes rating system, which some say is too favorable to certain industries. (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy Watch 
  • House Republicans increase pressure for Keystone XL approval
    Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are ramping up their pressure on President Barack Obama to approve TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. A website launched by panel members includes a "Keystone Clock," which shows the number of days that have passed since the project's application was filed. "Keystone XL remains an opportunity to help create a more secure energy future, but the clock on Keystone XL is still ticking as the president continues to delay his decision on the project," the lawmakers said. The Hill/E2 Wire blog (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Obama urges quick action on broad immigration overhaul
    President Barack Obama said he wants Congress to act immediately on a comprehensive immigration reform bill because it could boost the country's economy by allowing companies to hire highly skilled workers from abroad. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is working toward passing a bipartisan immigration measure in the Senate and who responded to Obama's State of the Union speech, agreed that immigration reform would bring economic benefits, but also said the U.S. needs to do more to secure its borders. Reuters (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Association News 
  • American Legion Post reopens after renovation by AGC Charities and volunteers
    Construction charity organization AGC Charities, Inc., completed renovations to an American Legion Post on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to make the facility more handicap accessible. Dozens of local contractors donated their time, expertise and money to make a series of improvements to the Kenneth H. Nash Post 8 building. "We are honored to have this opportunity to give back to the men and women that have sacrificed so much for our great country and the freedoms we all enjoy," said Joseph H. Jarboe, senior vice president of Clark Construction Group and the president of Associated General Contractors of America. "We hope that with these new renovations the Post will be able to better serve these honorable service men and women and provide the best accommodations possible." Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 2013 AGC’s 94th Annual Convention and Constructor Expo
    March 6-9 || Palm Springs, Calif.
    Growing your business can be a difficult endeavor ... even in a strong economy. In today’s construction marketplace, with fewer projects to bid on, increased competition from out of market firms, lower margins and higher materials prices, the average contractor faces nightmarish conditions in which to try to keep their businesses afloat, much less thriving. Very often, the line between success and failure comes down to simply who you know. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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