New market study, "United States Infrastructure Report Q3 2013", has been published.
* Residential construction will continue to be the main driver keeping growth in the construction sector in positive territory in 2013. Housing starts have continued their uneven growth path, reaching 914k as of May 2013. However, they are still some way below peak of 2,273k seen in January 2006, indicating that there are further gains to be made.
* Transport spending at the state and local level could be seeing signs of improvement following the passing of new transportation bills in a number of states. Facing crumbling transport networks local politicians have been pushing new and creative measures to top up state coffers to invest in infrastructure - including a state infrastructure bank which would be leveraged for commercial debt, changing fuels taxes and directing revenue generated elsewhere.
* The California High Speed Rail project finally made an important step forward with the award of a contract for the Madera-Fresno first stretch of the 210km Initial Operating Section (IOS), which in full will link Madera and Bakersfield in California's Central Valley. The winning bidders are a joint venture comprising Tutor Perini, Parsons and Zachary. The JV submitted the lowest price bid for the initial 47km stretch, at US$985mn. Construction is hoped to start in September 2013 and be completed in 2018.
* Renewable projects are slowing as rapidly as expected following the expiration of incentives and subsequent emptying of the project pipeline. In the first four months of 2013 investment into the power sector contracted by 5%, guiding our forecast for a 1.7% real contraction in power plants and transmission grids industry value in 2013.
* Investment into oil & gas pipelines continues to expand in line with our forecasts for industry value creation. Addressing the pipeline capacity shortfall created by the shale oil and gas boom has precipitated a rise in investment in the sector. Whilst the regulatory environment has delayed some of the large projects from getting through, on a more local scale investment is being made. In the near term we expect this to continue, with growth of 10.5% and 7.4% anticipated in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
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