Building materials - US infrastructure outlook - state budgets and the highway bill

Davy Research
/Read Important Disclosures

Yesterday (June 29th), we hosted a call with Dr Alison Black, Chief Economist, and Dean Franks, SVP for Congressional Relations, at the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). The discussion focused on state budgets and the potential for further stimulus, a new highway bill or both. Our key take-outs include: (1) activity continued at high levels through April and May despite some restrictions; (2) to date project delays have been limited to certain states – cancellations are not widespread; (3) states appear to be bidding work on the expectation that the federal government will fill budget gaps; (4) Congress likely has until mid-August to pass a new highway bill – failing that, an extension to the FAST Act is probable; (5) the fact that the Democrats have a $1.5trn bill in the House this week increases the chances of passing legislation before the election; and (6) even the least generous highway proposal is providing for an increase in spending of 27% per annum. Our sense is that there is no greater than a 50/50 shot of passing a bill before the election but that a major package is still likely over the next 12 months.