Construction season is ramping up in Alaska. What kind of spending is expected in the industry this year?

Construction began immediately to repair the ramp at the intersection of International Airport Road and Minnesota Drive after it collapsed during a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Friday, November 30, 3018 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Construction industry spending in Alaska is projected to increase by 10% this year compared to 2018. If the forecast holds true, it will be the second year in a row for growth.

The increase is due, in large part, to projects in the oil and gas industry and national defense spending.

Scott Goldsmith, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research, put together a construction industry forecast earlier this year, taking into account the 7.1 magnitude earthquake last November.

Interview Highlights:

Earthquake-related spending: “The overall amount, it’s hard to estimate, but I put it at about $200 million, which is just a couple percent of the total. In the big picture it’s not a whole lot.”

Major projects: “A couple of military-related construction projects in the greater Fairbanks area. One is associated with the new introduction of the F-35 fighter jets at the Eielson Air Force Base. The development of the infrastructure required for that is called a beddown. And that’s about a $500 million federal investment… and this is the biggest year for construction spending for that facility.”

State government spending: “In years past, that has been a pretty significant contributor to the construction spending budget. And that has been tapering off for several years because the state just doesn’t have a lot of general fund money to spend on capital projects. Looking forward, that’s going to be one of the weakest components of construction spending and construction budgets in the coming years.”