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March 14, 2013News for contractors and the construction industry

  Top Story 
  • XpressWest'S $5.5B HSR loan request questioned by GOP lawmakers
    A request for a $5.5 billion federal loan for the XpressWest high-speed rail project between Victorville, Calif., and Las Vegas is facing scrutiny from Republican lawmakers in Congress. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., say that the Transportation Department should reject the loan due to the project's "costly, wasteful and risky" nature. However, the two overlook the project's benefits as it would relieve road congestion and create 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, said XpressWest CEO Anthony Marnell. (3/13), San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) (free registration)/The Associated Press (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Infrastructure & Project Focus 
  • North Central Texas' $103.5B Mobility 2035 plan discussed
    The North Central Texas Council of Governments has finished three days of meetings, discussing high-speed rail, toll lanes and widened roadways to improve transportation in the region. Because of funding issues, the group has packaged some projects together to make them more appealing to private investment. All told, Mobility 2035, the COG's long-term plan, identifies approximately $103.5 billion in transportation improvements between now and 2035. The Dallas Morning News (free content) (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Stalled $850M NYC project to break ground in November
    The stalled $850 million Flushing Commons mixed-use project in the New York City borough of Queens will be developed in two phases, with the first phase slated to break ground in November. Phase one will consist of about 350,000 square feet of commercial space, 160 residential units, public open space and a YMCA. Phase two would add 450 residential units, parking and community facility space. The separation into phases could be due to funding issues, waiting to see how the market performs, or other reasons, according to a land-use lawyer. TimesLedger Newspapers (Queens, N.Y.) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • $767M Honolulu mixed-use project to create 1,000 jobs
    A $767 million mixed-use project is under review by the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting. Work includes construction of a 350-foot tower, four smaller buildings and possibly a 150-room hotel. The project, if approved, is expected to generate 1,000 construction jobs annually during its 13-year buildout. Commercial Property Executive (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Contractor: Fla. VA hospital will be finished by April 2014
    The Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Florida will be completed by April 2014, according to Brasfield & Gorrie, the contractor for the controversial project. Delays caused by numerous change orders have caused cost overruns beyond the original $665 million budget for the project. The only portion of the project that will be unfinished by the end of 2013 is the hospital's radiology department, said B&G. Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Update 
  • Trade groups lobby against sequestration cuts
    The Associated General Contractors of America is one of many trade groups seeking to spare public infrastructure projects from the sequestration cuts to be implemented soon. "More than $4 billion in federal construction spending could be cut during the next seven months of the fiscal year as a result of the sequester," said James Christianson, a lobbyist for the contractors. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovation & Green Building 
  • Light Park: Floating tower propelled by solar energy
    Architects Ting Xu and Yiming Chen of China have developed a concept called Light Park, a skyscraper that uses a helium-filled balloon to enable it to float above ground and solar-powered propellers to help it take off. The idea is to create a "utopian city" free of pollution. The mushroom-shaped skyscraper offers "infrastructure, housing, and commercial and recreational spaces" and "takes the future of urban development to the sky, offering Beijing’s residents a chance to escape the crowded city," writes Lidija Grozdanic. Inhabitat (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy Watch 
  • Senate amendment would restore billions for MAP-21 funding
    A continuing resolution passed by the House last week would cut promised transportation funding. However, the Senate's continuing resolution would restore that funding to a full $109 billion over two years. The move has gained praise from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. "The Senate's continuing resolution recognizes that the nation's economic recovery remains dependent on the funding levels envisioned in MAP-21 and now is not the time to deviate from those levels," Executive Director Bud Wright said. Transport Topics (3/13),, D.C. (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Association News 
  • Better manage your prequalification data and process
    Make your subcontractor prequalification process more efficient and help mitigate the risk of subcontractor default with an industry-standard online prequalification tool -- sign up for one of these free informational webinars today. These webinars are being offered on Friday, March 15 and again on Friday, March 22. Learn more at LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 2013 National Work Zone Awareness Survey
    AGC annually participates in National Work Zone Awareness Week to highlight the danger to construction workers of motorists not obeying speed limits or not staying alert in highway work zones. This year's National Work Zone Awareness Week will take place April 15-19 with the theme "Work Zone Safety: We’re All In This Together." To get a better handle on the impact of vehicle crashes at AGC member work sites, we have prepared this survey and will release the results as part of the week’s events. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey before Monday, March 25. We appreciate your input. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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