With President Barack Obama looking to stimulate a stagnant economy and create jobs through infrastructure investments in the American Jobs Act, it’s important to look at the lessons we learned from the previous stimulus.
NPR’s Yuki Noguchi talked with Smart Growth America’s President and CEO Geoff Anderson to discuss the importance of transit and repairing existing infrastructure for a infrastructure stimulus to be effective.
Geoff Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Smart Growth America, a nonprofit, says some projects create more jobs for the money. Work on public transit and repairs to existing roads, for example, generated 50 to 70 percent more jobs than did work on new roads.
“We’ve got a happy intersection, in this case, between the things that created jobs in the short term [and] also the things that the economy needs in the long term,” Anderson says.
By learning from what worked with the previous stimulus, Anderson says, the dollars can be used to create more jobs this time around.
Last February, Smart Growth America released a report, “Recent Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation,” that evaluates how successful states have been in creating jobs with their flexible $26.6 billion of transportation funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). The report finds that the states that created the most jobs were the ones that invested in public transportation projects and projects that maintained and repaired existing roads and bridges. The states that spent their funds predominantly building new roads and bridges created fewer jobs.