- The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has selected Granite Construction as the construction manager/general contractor for two major infrastructure projects worth a total of $520 million.
- The $410 million Highway 101 Carpinteria to Santa Barbara project will see Granite add one high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction to a 10.9-mile stretch of that roadway, increasing the lanes for that segment to a total of six. The $113 million Cosumnes River Bridge replacement is the second project for Granite.
- Granite said the company plans to pursue $4 billion of CM/GC work in 2019, with $1 billion of that total in California. The company added that the recent defeat of proposed California measure Proposition 6, which would have repealed a gas tax earmarked to fund infrastructure projects, helped clear the way for these and future projects.
Granite, according to the Los Angeles Times, performed $955 million of California infrastructure work in the five years leading up to the November 2018 election and contributed $1 million toward the campaign to leave the gas tax intact. The anti-repeal movement, with help from other big donors like Lehigh Hanson, HNTB Corp., Lane Construction and Ames Construction, raised $43 million, compared to Proposition 6 proponents who had raised only $3.4 million as election day approached.
While local financing actions like bond issues and new taxes help to fund infrastructure projects, states rely on the federal government to finance a healthy portion of their highway work. That’s why state transportation officials called on Congress and the White House this week to start working on a new highway bill now before the current one expires in 2020.
As part of a panel discussion sponsored by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Transportation Research Board, Transport Topics reported Carlos Braceras, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation and president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, told those in attendance that federal decision makers should begin dealing with the reauthorization early enough to avoid delays and should also increase the amount of money they plan on allocating to state projects.
Braceras added that lawmakers should also increase the federal government's investment in multimodal systems along freight and passenger corridors and make sure that states are implementing connected and autonomous vehicle technology in a safe manner.
In addition, he lamented about the lack of funding momentum shown by federal lawmakers, particularly given the initial enthusiasm for a massive U.S. infrastructure program following President Donald Trump’s successful 2016 campaign.