[Arizona Republic staff and wire reports] — Construction spending by federal, state, and local governments has reached record levels, lifting the economy and creating jobs for blue-collar workers despite a collapse in home building. The building of new homes and apartments nationally fell in July to its lowest level since 1991, the U.S. Commerce Department reported this week, but a boom in government projects has picked up some of the slack.
Such spending is obvious in metropolitan Phoenix. The $1.4 billion light-rail system is set to open Dec. 27 as a critical piece to downtown Phoenix’s rebirth, which includes a $600 million convention-center expansion, and a $223 million downtown campus for Arizona State University.
Overall, governments are on track to spend a record $300 billion this year on schools, roads, bridges and other projects, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. That’s a 7% increase on top of a 12.4% jump last year, the biggest increase since 1993, when the agency began tracking construction spending. [Note: to read the full article, click here.]