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McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies, released its 2011 Construction Outlook, a mainstay in construction industry forecasting and business planning, which predicts an increase in overall U.S. construction starts for next year. The level of construction starts in 2011 is expected to advance 8 percent to $445.5 billion, following the 2 percent decline predicted for 2010.

The EPA has awarded $485,000 to the city of Topeka, KS, for improvements to its drinking water and sewer systems. The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2012.

Pueblo West executive and Distribution Contractors Association Past President Keith R. Swerdfeger won the election for his second run at the Colorado State House of Representatives District 47 seat being vacated by Democrat Liane "Buffie" McFadyen.

As reported in The Mercury News, PG&E's costs related to the San Bruno, CA, gas-line explosion could climb to more than $1 billion, according to data the utility made public in November, fueling fears over how much of the tab its customers may end up paying.

Five leading off-road equipment industry associations have published a "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) report about Tier 4 technology – the next generation of clean diesel emissions standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Clean Air Act. These standards apply to new diesel engines used in off-road equipment beginning in 2011.

Michels Pipeline Construction, a division of Brownsville, WI-based Michels Corp., has been awarded spreads 1-4 of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Gulf Coast Expansion Project.

Michels Pipeline Construction will install 371 miles of 36-inch pipe running from Payne County, OK, to Angelina County, TX. Michels Directional Crossings will also perform 19 directional drills required along the route.

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) released a white paper, Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Efficiency, analyzing the achievements and challenges in connection with optimizing the energy efficiency of natural gas pipeline transportation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced nearly $300 million in federal funding to improve aging water and wastewater infrastructure and protect human health and the environment for people in the state of California. This new infusion of money through infrastructure capitalization grants will help state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment throughout California.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District, MO, has awarded a $9.178 million contract to SAK Construction for the Old Mill Creek Phase 1A project for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. The project, which targets the aging Old Mill Creek Sewer and smaller connecting sewers, is designed to eliminate or control related sewer overflows that affect both the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County, MO.

Charles Stringer, assistant director of Water Operations for the Dallas Water Utilities, Dallas, TX, did double duty when he delivered presentations at two chapter meetings for the Underground Construction Technology Association (UCTA). Attendees at the Gulf Coast Chapter meeting held in Houston on Oct. 12 and those who attended the new North Texas Chapter meeting in Euless, TX, on Oct. 14 had the opportunity to hear about the city of Dallas’ recommended 2010 Capital Improvement Plan.

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