It has been a very long time since man first discovered the way of building roads. Ancient roadways were little more than dirt compacted over time by the constant use of foot-traffic and horse-drawn conveyance. Therefore, today's road construction industry is a massive leap forward with the new technologies and techniques emerging, and this industry is booming day to day.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a government agency that deals in highway transportation within the country and basically consists of two major operational channels: the Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway Program.
The Federal-aid Highway Program performs the function of utilizing the funds allocated for maintaining the National Highway System (Interstate Highways, U.S. Routes and State Routes). This capital of funds comes from federal sources of income like gasoline tax and is funneled into the respective state departments of road construction and transportation. The agency monitors the projects and then decides the qualifying projects that meet certain requirements and weigh on various standards of construction that are require to be complied with.
However, the Federal Lands Highway Program agency performs the architectural capacity of road construction, like highway design and construction services for several national parks and forest service areas.
The agency is also involved in sponsoring research of road facilities like roadway safety and traffic management, quality of construction materials used, and several methodologies involved in the construction industry. They also set up the local technical support program centers to provide research assistance to the local highway contractors.
This industry plays a pivotal role in shaping the economy of the country. The overall revenue generated from roadways construction and design industry is close to $200 billion annually in economic activity and the industry is capable of providing 2.5 million jobs to the nation. It generates 320 billion dollars of economic activity for the nation, and most of the industries today depend on the transportation and highways network of the country.
According to the US Census Bureau data, the industry also leads to emerging businesses across the nation. Roadways and their construction support more than 1.3 million individual businesses and public agencies each year in terms of infrastructure, transportation design, and construction and management activities in US.
Another big industry that is supported by road and highway construction is the transportation manufacturing industry which is a source of 3.8 million full time jobs and is a massive contributor in terms of revenue generated. The transportation manufacturing industry link goes on to jobs in tourism, transportation, agriculture, mining, forestry, construction, retailing, warehousing and wholesale industry. Therefore, the road construction industry could be called the lifeline of the US economy and its development.