Annual Industry Outlook

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    The Best Defense

    In our annual budget forecast survey, we asked readers two main questions: what they see as their greatest challenge in 2008, and how they plan to address that challenge. Because the EPA drives so much of what the typical PUBLIC WORKS reader does, we sorted responses according to the agency's 10...

     
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    Putting it All Together

    Nonresidential construction is expected to increase 5% this year and 4% next year according to some sources, and the 2008 Outlook—our annual survey of public works budget expectations mirrors these expectations.

     
  • PUBLIC WORKS Special Report: 2007 Forecast

    Budget increases are outpacing cuts five to one this year, 12 percent of public works budgets were cut going into 2007, and one-third are flat compared to 2006. The bottom line: Funding for public intrastructure is up, but not enough to suit most managers' needs. Read our special report on the 2007...

     
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    Forecast 2007: Water

    When it comes to the nation's potable-water supply, critical issues remain the same as last year, though some items—like U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations—shift slightly as scientists obtain more information about the effects of various compounds and impurities on public health.

     
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    Forecast 2007: wastewater/stormwater

     
  • Forecast 2007: public grounds

    As it did last year, “green space” is becoming increasingly important as we lose more of it to development. Today's policy makers are more aware of how urban forests cool cities, lower energy consumption, and reduce greenhouse gases.

     
  • Forecast 2007: municipal solid waste

    Not a lot to worry about here this year: As long as there's garbage, municipal solid waste (MSW) managers will have a job. The issues they'll face this year, however, are where that garbage is going and how its treatment is changing. As recycling grows, the amount of waste sent to landfills is...

     
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    2007 Forecast: Fleets

    Even though truck sales in general are declining, sales to state and local governments will remain even with last year. Municipal fleets won't feel the money crunch or tightening emissions crunch until late 2007 or 2008—and later.

     
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    2007 Forecast: supply costs

    Expect the price of construction materials to rise by 6% to 8%, says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Va.

     
  • 2007 Forecast: A regional snapshot

    In early November, we asked readers if their 2007 operational and capital budgets would be up, down, or flat compared to 2006. Then we divided the nation into five regions and compared budget expectations. Here are the results

     
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    2007 Forecast: Variable Conditions

    At first glance, the forecast for the year ahead calls for clear skies. But dig a little deeper, and the outlook gets murkier. To get a handle on how public works departments are being financially supported in their efforts to care for the infrastructure, both on a day-to-day level as well as for...

     
  • Funding for capital equipment

    2006 public works funding forecast

    Developing and monitoring budgets is not the favorite task of most public works professionals. Having the money to operate and develop the infrastructure, though, makes budgeting a necessary evil. For most cities, counties, and states, that evil is a little less onerous for 2006.