Transportation contractors drive big-ticket construction equipment sales and rental market

News ARTBA June 27, 2005
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Annual construction equipment expenditures by highway, bridge and other transportation contractors far outpace those of general building contractors, an American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) analysis of U.S. Commerce Department data shows.

The ARTBA study found the nation’s transportation contractors spent about $5.2 billion in 2002 to purchase and rent construction equipment. While the 11,200 transportation contractors as a group represent only 1.6% of all U.S. construction contractors, they account for 15.4% of annual construction equipment sales and rentals, ARTBA found.

Dr. William Buechner, ARTBA vice president of economics and research, who analyzed the most recent data available in the Commerce Department’s 2002 Economic Consensus: Construction Industry Series, found:

• The average highway or bridge contractor invested $258,000 in equipment purchases in 2002, more than twice the amount ($98,600) invested in such purchases by other heavy contractors and more than six times the amount ($40,100) spent by nonresidential general building contractors.

• The average highway or bridge contractor also spent nearly $201,000 to lease equipment in 2002, almost three times the amount ($69,000) spent by other heavy contractors and more than six times the amount ($31,800) spent by nonresidential building contractors.

Transportation construction contractors are the primary market for expensive heavy machinery, Buechner says.

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