In January, the federal government passed the spending bill for the 2014 fiscal year. The bill, which sets spending levels at $1.1 trillion, includes a number of changes to construction industry spending. For industry professionals, the bill helps provide predictability for federally funded construction programs.
In some areas, construction industry spending will increase. The 2014 spending bill promises a $723 million, or 17 percent, increase for Army Corps Civil Works construction projects, which is a considerable improvement from 2013. The additional funds will go to a number of projects, including the Operations and Maintenance Account. The account funds both the Tributary and the Mississippi River accounts, which will both see a 25 percent increase in construction industry spending in 2014.
With a spending increase of $1.5 billion, construction projects funded by the General Services Administration (GSA) will benefit the most from the 2014 spending bill. For the past three fiscal years, construction professionals working with the GSA have seen low construction industry spending levels. For GSA construction partners, 2014 promises to be a turnaround year. In fact, fiscal spending for construction in 2014 will be more than the total fiscal spending in 2011, 2012, and 2013 combined. In the GSA, the Construction and Acquisition Account will receive a total of $506 million, while the remaining $1.253 billion will go to the Repairs and Alterations Account.
Other government accounts will not fare as well in the coming year. The 2014 construction industry spending allocations will have a negative effect on the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which received $2.9 million less than it did in 2013. Despite the funding decrease, however, the fund's $1.45 million allocation is the smallest budgetary cut in the past decade.
The 2014 bill also slightly reduced the level of fiscal spending for construction on military projects. However, because the 2013 spending figures do not account for sequestration cuts, military construction projects can actually expect an increase in spending in 2014. Most notably, Air Force construction accounts will see an increase in funding levels from 2013.
In total, construction accounts funded by the federal government will receive almost $108 billion in 2014. In comparison to 2013 funding levels, the 2014 spending bill represents an increase of $1 billion for construction projects. In 2014, government construction will outstrip commercial construction, which, according to Buildings Smarter Facility Management, will increase by just 5.8 percent.
For many construction professionals working on government projects, 2014 will be a year of growth. Though the federal government's construction industry spending in 2014 includes a mix of funding increases and decreases from project to project, total construction funding is higher than it was in 2013. The overall increase indicates the slow growth of the economy, which continues to rebound from the recent recession.
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