The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

United States transit officials warned lawmakers last week that the lack of funding for the Highway Trust Fund and threat of insolvency by 2015 could delay many summer infrastructure projects. The transit officials would like Congress to quickly approve billions of dollars in new funding to avoid these costly delays. If the Highway Trust Fund does not receive additional funds, hundreds of thousands of jobs could be affected and the current project backlog will significantly increase.

A new study published, by the New London Architecture think tank on Wednesday, found that there are currently 236 towers proposed, approved, or under construction in London.  The report defines a tower as a building with 20 or more stories. Of the new buildings, 80 percent will be residential and the rest will either be office space, hotels, or mixed-use. Also, 33 of the 236 new buildings are between 40 and 49 floors, and 22 are taller than 50 stories. Peter Murray, Director of New London Architecture, believes the skyscraper boom is the result of increased pressure on the Greater London Assembly to build more housing. London Mayor Boris Johnson announced last year, as part of his housing plan, that London would need to add 42,000 new houses each year to meet the country's housing demands. 

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The Center for an Urban Future released a report yesterday titled Caution Ahead: Overdue Investments For New York’s Aging Infrastructure.  The 68-page study estimates that New York needs to spend $47 billion over the next four to five years to improve its failing infrastructure to a state of good repair. The report states that while Superstorm Sandy brought attention and some much needed funding to certain parts of New York’s infrastructure, there are still many other infrastructure vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system expansion project is a full year ahead of schedule due to a lack of rain over the last two years. The $3.2 billion project will extend the line by 16 miles from the San Francisco, California area to southern Freemont, Milpitas, and San Jose. The extension to Beerysea was supposed to be finished in 2018, but now Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) officials expect it to be completed by late 2017.

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The DC Tower 1, located along the Danube River in Vienna, Austria, officially opened last week and became the country’s tallest building. Construction on the smaller DC Tower 2 will begin shortly and will be completed in two years. The two towers are part of the Donau City project that has been transforming the Donube riverfront in Vienna over the last 20 years.

One of the largest “spec” office building projects in the world recently broke ground in Houston, Texas. Houston-based international real estate company Hines is developing the 48-story, 756-foot skyscraper. The company announced their plan to build the tower, referred to as 609 Main at Texas, in 2011 and has since increased the size of the project. The building will be the 23rd skyscraper that Hines has built in downtown Houston.

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Construction has finally begun on the 709-foot, 61-story skinny residential skyscraper located at 610 Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The tower, originally proposed in 2005, was delayed due to the recession in 2007 and eventually put on an indefinite hold in 2009. In March 2012, developer RFR Holding LLC regained control of the site and announced their plans to complete the project.