Report quantifies transportation projects’ effects on economy

By |  September 9, 2015

An American Road & Transportation Builders Association report (ARTBA) finds that the money invested in transportation construction industry employment and purchases generates nearly $510 billion in annual U.S. economic activity. According to ARTBA, that figure accounts for 1.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

The report, which ARTBA chief economist Alison Premo Black authored, is titled “The 2015 U.S. Transportation Construction Industry Profile.” Black estimates that the annual value of public and private transportation construction and maintenance work will be nearly $275 billion in 2015. According to ARTBA, that ranks higher than sectors such as wireless communications carriers ($254 billion); food and beverage stores ($222.5 billion); insurance agencies and brokers ($219.5 billion); nursing care facilities ($171.1 billion); aircraft manufacturing ($158.3 billion); and automobile manufacturing ($131.4 billion).

The report also shows that the transportation construction industry supports nearly 4 million full-time jobs, generating more than $155 billion in direct and induced wages nationally.

“The simple fact is that nearly 63 million American jobs in just tourism, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, agriculture and forestry, general construction, mining, retailing and wholesaling alone are dependent on the work done by the U.S. transportation construction industry,” Black says.

She warns there are several major challenges that threaten the overall efficiency of the nation’s transportation network. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has identified a backlog of $877 billion in highway and bridge construction projects across the country.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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