Highway construction cuts hurt California

California’s construction industry is now beginning to feel the pinch as state government deficits have forced it to cut back on highway projects. California's total statewide construction activity declined for the second month in a row with July's volume totaling $6.02 billion, down 4.5% from June 2003, according to statistical data gathered monthly by the Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB).

California’s construction industry is now beginning to feel the pinch as state government deficits have forced it to cut back on highway projects.

California's total statewide construction activity declined for the second month in a row with July's volume totaling $6.02 billion, down 4.5% from June 2003, according to statistical data gathered monthly by the Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB).

Burbank, CA-based CIRB said all construction sectors in California are down from the prior month – the first month this has occurred in 2003. The largest decline in July is in public works construction, which includes highway-heavy construction along with governmental buildings: it’s down $241.3 million or 13.4% to $1.49 billion from June this year.

Ben Bartolotto, director of CIRB, said the decline in public works construction is due primarily to a slowdown in heavy construction, more specifically in the anticipated reductions in road and bridge construction due, in part, to the uncertainties surrounding the $38 billion deficit state budget.

In the first seven months of 2003, heavy construction totals $4.29 billion, down about $1.74 billion, or 28.9%, he said. Year-to-date, the road and bridge portion of heavy construction during that period is down 39.8% and for the month of July, road and bridge construction totals only $180.7 million, down 52.8% from June, Bartolotto added.

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