Bond issues, Trump spending could spell good year for AEC
By Richard Massey
While a three-person panel hosted by Engineering News-Record did not offer an outright prediction that construction would boom next year, the speakers did point toward a healthy 2017. Speaking during a Tuesday webinar, economists Robert Murray of Dodge Data & Analytics, Edward Sullivan of the Portland Cement Association, and tech expert Brad Hardin of Black & Veatch, each gave their assessment of what’s happening now and what’s expected to happen in the near future.
Their conclusions should reassure architecture and engineering firms, and construction companies. The underlying economic fundamentals are strong, massive bond issues for public works were passed in California and Texas, and New Jersey dedicated its gas tax to transportation projects. In terms of technology, smart infrastructure will provide big opportunities for those willing to embrace and install it. The big-ticket item, of course, is the $550 billion to $1 trillion in infrastructure spending that could open up after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. If all goes as planned, big construction projects could begin by mid-2018, with $100 billion being spent each year from 2018-2022, according to the ENR webinar.
Other factors that could have a positive influence on the AEC market include low interest rates and an expected rollback of spending regulations under Dodd-Frank, according to the ENR webinar.