A Handy Roadbuilding Reference Guide – Starts in All States and Provinces

The table accompanying this article shows the dollar volumes of roadbuilding starts for all states in the U.S. and all provinces in Canada. The left-hand side of the dividing bar in Table 1 focuses on annual average dollar volume levels for the six-year period 2010 to 2015, also including annual average percentage changes. The right-hand side shows dollar volume results for last year, plus 2016 versus 2015.

2017-02-15-Roadbuilding-Graphic

The figures are drawn from the Forecast (and ‘Actuals’) module of ConstructConnect’s ‘Insight’ platform on the Web.

How complete is ConstructConnect’s coverage of the roadbuilding sector? A good approach to answering this question is to make a comparison with the Census Bureau’s relevant capital spending put-in-place (PIP) numbers.

The starts figures won’t be as high as the PIP numbers because they are built up from individual projects and some work will inevitably be missed. For the PIP data series, because it plays a role in the gross domestic product (GDP) calculations carried out by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), estimations must be made by the Census Bureau to attempt to capture the ‘universe’, including smaller undertakings and activity in every corner of the country.

To sidestep the timing difference between ‘starts’, which are entered when ground is broken, and the PIP statistics, which essentially measure workflow or progress payments as structures are assembled, three-year averages were set side by side. ConstructConnect’s total U.S. roadbuilding starts came to approximately three-quarters of the PIP street and highway investment numbers.

The U.S. figures are in U.S. dollars (i.e., ‘greenbacks’). The Canadian figures are in Canadian dollars (i.e., what are affectionately known as ‘loonies’).

In Table 1, the South Region ($16.1 billion USD on average) accounted for the largest spending on roadbuilding projects during the period 2010 to 2015. The Midwest ($12.5 billion) was next, followed by the West ($8.7 billion) and the Northeast ($6.0 billion).

The South (+9.1%) also recorded the fastest annual average growth rate in roadway starts, 2010 through 2015, with the Midwest (+5.3%) and Northeast (+3.7%) next in line. The West (+1.0%) dragged its feet.

In the standalone year of 2016, − as set out on the right-hand side of the table − nominal levels of roadbuilding starts were led by the South ($23.2 billion), followed by the Midwest ($12.9 billion), West ($10.0 billion) and the Northeast ($6.1 billion).

But it was the West, perhaps recognizing a need to do some catching up after performing so sluggishly earlier, that led regional percentage gains in 2016, with a +14.6% jump. In second place was the South, at +8.7%. The Northeast and Midwest experienced declines in roadbuilding starts in 2016 versus 2015, -1.9% and -14.5% respectively.

Among the states, it’s the ones with the largest population counts that generally lead in street and highway starts volumes. For the full seven years covered in Table 1, Texas was notably way out front of all its siblings.

On average from 2010 to 2015, the $4.6 billion figure in Texas was considerably ahead of second-place California’s $3.6 billion. In 2016, it was Texas at $7.0 billion and runner-up California far back at $4.4 billion.

Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois are in a tier that appears just below Texas and California in the roadbuilding dollar-volume rankings. New York, North Carolina and Georgia are also prominent.

In Canada, Ontario is usually the leader among the provinces in roadbuilding starts. That province’s $2.9 billion CAD figure on average from 2010 to 2015 was more than double second-place Alberta’s $1.3 billion. In 2016, the disparity was even wider, $2.6 billion for Ontario compared with $795 million for next-best Alberta.

As was the case in so many categories of construction, roadbuilding (-26.5% nation-wide) had an exceptionally bad year in Canada in 2016. The only province that managed to achieve an increase in starts was British Columbia, +13.5%. Four provinces or regions suffered declines of nearly one-third of more: Ontario, -32.3%; Manitoba, -35.7%; the Atlantic, -38.8%; and Saskatchewan, -39.3%.

There is a final point of interest to bring to the attention of readers. In 2016, Texas on its own recorded a higher volume of roadbuilding starts than Canada as a whole, (i.e., $7.0 billion versus $5.8 billion), and that’s not even taking into account the greenback’s exchange rate advantage over the loonie.

Table 1: ConstructConnect’s Road (i.e., Street & Highway) Construction Starts
United States ($ volumes are in billions USD)
Annual Average Average Y/Y    
$ Volume % Change    
Previous 6 Years Previous 6 Years     2016 2016 versus
(2010 to 2015) (2010 to 2015)     $ Volume 2015 (Y/Y)
   
Connecticut $0.296 32.4%     $0.258 9.4%
Maine $0.202 3.4%     $0.214 -11.7%
Massachusetts $0.621 17.0%     $0.738 13.8%
New Hampshire $0.168 1.0%     $0.397 189.7%
Rhode Island $0.086 7.7%     $0.069 -36.6%
Vermont $0.127 6.6%     $0.146 2.9%
Total New England $1.500   8.7%     $1.821   20.4%
New Jersey $1.225 7.7%     $0.790 -25.9%
New York $1.325 0.7%     $1.690 28.5%
Pennsylvania $1.933 6.0%     $1.849 -22.2%
Total Middle Atlantic $4.483   2.8%     $4.328   -9.0%
TOTAL NORTHEAST $5.983   3.7%     $6.149   -1.9%
Illinois $2.569 4.9%     $1.692 -49.8%
Indiana $1.139 5.5%     $0.805 -10.6%
Michigan $1.114 4.0%     $1.331 -7.2%
Ohio $1.718 6.9%     $2.044 -3.8%
Wisconsin $1.268 9.4%     $1.245 -8.6%
Total East North Central $7.809   4.4%     $7.118   -22.6%
Iowa $0.686 1.8%     $1.129 59.6%
Kansas $0.563 22.7%     $0.564 -41.5%
Minnesota $1.288 9.8%     $1.535 -1.9%
Missouri $0.828 16.5%     $0.785 5.8%
Nebraska $0.386 19.6%     $0.532 -7.6%
North Dakota $0.608 28.1%     $0.825 -8.8%
South Dakota $0.310 8.9%     $0.365 -2.2%
Total West North Central $4.669   9.1%     $5.735   -1.7%
TOTAL MIDWEST $12.478   5.3%     $12.853   -14.5%
Delaware $0.169 54.0%     $0.249 -26.3%
District of Columbia $0.044 83.7%     $0.077 -2.1%
Florida $2.197 10.8%     $2.779 -14.5%
Georgia $1.136 6.8%     $1.618 44.7%
Maryland $0.591 17.8%     $1.751 155.5%
North Carolina $1.230 22.0%     $1.654 -20.0%
South Carolina $0.652 9.3%     $1.356 74.3%
Virginia $0.810 11.3%     $1.444 77.2%
West Virginia $0.323 17.6%     $0.294 -49.0%
Total South Atlantic $7.153   9.5%     $11.223   15.6%
Alabama $0.658 7.4%     $0.621 -17.1%
Kentucky $0.729 7.1%     $0.677 -19.9%
Mississippi $0.547 15.0%     $0.716 -13.7%
Tennessee $0.578 12.3%     $0.591 -20.7%
Total East South Central $2.512   6.7%     $2.605   -17.8%
Arkansas $0.576 18.9%     $0.922 17.3%
Louisiana $0.729 1.0%     $0.542 -24.1%
Oklahoma $0.524 2.9%     $0.878 24.8%
Texas $4.612 13.9%     $6.983 12.3%
Total West South Central $6.441   10.2%     $9.325   10.7%
TOTAL SOUTH $16.106   9.1%     $23.153   8.7%
Arizona $0.673 -3.1%     $0.614 15.3%
Colorado $0.629 12.2%     $0.864 3.3%
Idaho $0.256 -8.4%     $0.236 26.4%
Montana $0.273 6.5%     $0.281 2.7%
Nevada $0.356 10.7%     $0.360 -43.3%
New Mexico $0.367 0.4%     $0.212 -21.1%
Utah $0.435 5.4%     $0.748 98.6%
Wyoming $0.279 5.6%     $0.345 14.2%
Total Mountain $3.268   -0.7%     $3.659   7.3%
Alaska $0.376 10.8%     $0.336 -21.8%
California $3.591 3.5%     $4.430 37.6%
Hawaii $0.265 25.2%     $0.354 11.9%
Oregon $0.431 5.4%     $0.439 -19.3%
Washington $0.808 1.7%     $0.777 -3.3%
Total Pacific $5.471   2.6%     $6.336   19.3%
TOTAL WEST $8.739   1.0%     $9.995   14.6%
TOTAL U.S. $43.305   4.7%     $52.150   1.6%
Canada ($ volumes are in billions CAD)
Annual Average Average Y/Y    
$ Volume % Change    
Previous 6 Years Previous 6 Years     2016 2016 versus
(2010 to 2015) (2010 to 2015)     $ Volume 2015 (Y/Y)
   
Atlantic Canada $0.451 1.4%     $0.356 -38.8%
Québec $1.202 -3.9%     $0.784 -18.9%
Ontario $2.856 10.0%     $2.639 -32.3%
Manitoba $0.302 14.3%     $0.231 -35.7%
Saskatchewan $0.369 8.9%     $0.305 -39.3%
Alberta $1.267 9.4%     $0.795 -17.2%
British Columbia $0.618 3.9%     $0.667 13.5%
TOTAL CANADA $7.065   2.1%     $5.778   -26.5%
Data source: ConstructConnect Insight.
Table: ConstructConnect.

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