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January 23, 2013News for contractors and the construction industry

  Top Story 
  • Keystone XL's new route across Neb. gets governor's approval
    TransCanada's proposed new route for its Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska was cleared by Gov. Dave Heineman. "Over the past year, we have been listening to Nebraskans as we worked to identify a new route for the Keystone XL Pipeline that avoided the Sand Hills, protected sensitive areas, and addressed as many concerns as possible," said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s chief executive officer. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department's ruling on the pipeline won't come before the end of the first quarter, said Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the department. Oil & Gas Journal (1/22), Reuters (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Infrastructure & Project Focus 
  • Global skyscraper completions down in 2012; upward trend for 2013
    The number of tall buildings completed around the world declined in 2012, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Only 66 skyscrapers more than 656 feet tall were built last year, down from the 82 finished in 2011. The U.S. completed only two buildings. "As 2012 closes, the industry is on the cusp of another burst of tall building development," the report said. "It is likely the 2013 completion total will set a new record for tall building completions, surpassing the 2011 total." (Australia) (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Plan would allow Va. to proceed with 16 road, transit projects
    A transportation funding plan that eliminates the gas tax and increases the sales tax in Virginia would put $3.1 billion towards 16 projects in the state. Included among the projects are the second phase of work on the Dulles Metrorail project and construction of a new Interstate 66/Route 28 interchange. "Every corner of the Commonwealth will reap the benefits of safer roads, quicker commutes and increased access to public transportation if this plan is adopted," said Gov. Bob McDonnell. American City Business Journals/Washington, D.C./BizBeat blog (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Update 
  • Skilled workers seek greener grass as economy improves
    As the recovering economy gives the U.S. labor force greater confidence, highly skilled workers are leaving the safety of their jobs to search for better opportunities. In a 2012 survey, 40% of employers said they were having trouble keeping workers with critical skills, up from 36% in 2011 and 16% in 2009. The Washington Post (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovation & Green Building 
  • Tackling "big data" in AEC firms
    The use of building information modeling has increased. This means AEC firms need to keep track of even more data than ever, and storing it in various places means not all can know what information is where. So some have turned to collaboration technology that lives in the cloud. Constructech (free registration) (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Video: How Manhattan West deck is being constructed
    Source: The Atlantic Cities/Brookfield
    This animated video shows how the Manhattan West platform will be built in New York City. The first step involves building over the open tracks at the Penn Station rail yard using post-tension precast segmental bridge technology. This makes it possible to build above the site without disturbing train operations below. The segments will form a deck over the tracks, and then construction of two 60-story towers will begin. The Atlantic Cities (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Calif. schools to get $2.5B for energy-efficiency upgrades
    On July 1, $450 million will be available for energy-efficiency upgrades and clean-energy projects at California schools. During the four following years, $550 million will be available annually. Funding is a result of the passage of Proposition 39. An average retrofit could cut 30% off energy costs and save a school between $10,000 and $16,000 each year, according to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency. Forbes (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy Watch 
  • Proposed guest-worker program sparks debate, GOP concerns
    A proposed guest-worker program has ignited a debate between local business groups and some Republican lawmakers in Kansas who hold contradicting views on immigration. The proposal, which could make Kansas a state that welcomes undocumented workers, is opposed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write strict immigration laws for Arizona and Alabama. The debate highlights a potential rift in the Republican Party. The Wall Street Journal (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Association News 
  • AGC to host webinar on the Affordable Care Act
    HR professionals cannot make tough company decisions regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) alone. As a result, many are guiding construction company owners and executives through the decision-making process to minimize the impact of the ACA on business operations. AGC's upcoming webinar series, The Affordable Care Act: The Impact of Health Care Reform on Your Construction Business, will provide those with a seat at the table the information necessary to make critical business decisions that will affect the company for years to come. The webinars will be held on Feb. 5, 7 and 12. Each webinar will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. ET. Registration for all three days is just $99 for AGC members. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AGC of America and Computer Guidance release 2013 Construction Hiring & Business Outlook
    Significantly more construction firms are planning to add new staff than plan to cut staff while demand for many types of private sector construction projects should increase this year, according to survey results released by the Associated General Contractors of America and Computer Guidance Corp. The survey, conducted as part of Tentative Signs of a Recovery: The 2013 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, provides a generally optimistic outlook for the year even as firms worry about rising costs and declining public sector demand for construction. "While the outlook for the construction industry appears to be heading in the right direction for 2013, many firms are still grappling with significant economic headwinds," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. "With luck and a lot of work, the hard-hit construction industry should be larger, healthier, more technologically savvy and more profitable by the end of 2013 than it is today." Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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