According to Asphalt Contractor magazine, “there’s 15% more money for road building this year.” The $1.3 trillion omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018 will boost dollars spent on the nation’s infrastructure, and hopefully portions of that will be spent building new roads. However, infrastructure, according to the bill can be, “programs related to rural water and wastewater, drinking water, rural broadband, energy, innovative capital projects and surface transportation.” Plus only $20 billion of the omnibus fund will go for infrastructure.
But all is not lost – the Omnibus Appropriations Committee added an additional $3.46 billion for roads in 2018. States will be seeing $1.98 billion directly allocated to state DOTs and cities under the Surface Transportation Block Grant program – and this money must be spent on the construction of roads, bridges and tunnels.
What is worrisome is that if the cities get the grant funding, they will most likely spend the money on metro transit, whereas if the DOTs get the funding, it will be spent on roadways. States should also try to match funding to get an even bigger piece of the pie. The Omnibus Appropriations Bill will also give funds to airports to fund runways, taxiways and other projects.
Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants are over and above money allocated to the states by the US DOT to fund road, transit, maritime and rail projects. There are 59 TIGER Grants available under the Trump administration. These grants are awarded through a competitive process with 60% of the grants going towards highways.
If this money is spent as designation in 2018, the asphalt industry could see a huge increase in construction. Under the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, total federal infrastructure spending is up $7B in the asphalt pavement market, that’s a 15% increase.