On "Recent Lessons from the Stimulus"

A new report from Smart Growth America analyzes states’ investments in infrastructure to determine whether they made the best use of their spending based on job creation numbers. Here’s what reporters, bloggers and commentators are saying about the new findings:

Which States Squandered Their Stimulus Money? [The Daily Beast, 2/4/2011]

Sue Minter, Vermont’s deputy transportation secretary, says a longstanding “fix-it-first” policy for infrastructure and bipartisan collaboration shaped Vermont’s decisions about how to use the funds. The state spent all of its highway money on system maintenance, with a small amount going to mass transit. (Minter, a Democrat, was a member of the state legislature at the time.) “This shot of money into our economy was very, very significant. It’s part of the reason we have a relatively low unemployment rate,” she says. Only 5.8 percent of Vermont residents are out of work, one of the nation’s lowest rates. State research shows that ARRA funding employed 11,000 people—a small number overall, but a significant one in a small state. Minter says the maintenance was important for keeping economic growth, particularly in tourism, strong.

Conn. earns A+ for how it spent transportation stimulus money [New Haven Register, 2/4/2011]

Connecticut tied for No. 1 in the nation in how well it spent federal transportation stimulus money to create jobs, according to a report released today by Smart Growth America.

“Smart Growth America commends Connecticut for using its federal stimulus funding to maximize job creation,” said Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America, in a press release. “Connecticut should continue on this same path of smart, fiscally responsible transportation policies when it considers its 2011 transportation budget.

Maryland ranked high on spending stimulus money [The Baltimore Sun, 2/4/2011]

If you go by the standards promoted by leading smart growth advocates, Maryland ranks high on the list of states that spent the money it has received in federal economic stimulus funds wisely.

A report prepared by Smart Growth America…ranks Maryland 9th in its ranking of states for spending the flexible funds provided under the American Recovery Investment Act [sic] for purposes other than adding new road capacity.

Eight other states earned a perfect ranking by devoting no money at all from the program [to] adding road capacity. Maryland spent only 1 percent for that purpose.

RI Ranked Number One in National Transit Report [GoLocalProv.com, 2/4/2011]

Rhode Island is tied for first place for investing all of the money it received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in fixing old roads and encouraging environmentally-friendly and efficient public transportation.

Rhode Island’s success in using these open-ended transportation dollars means that the state government can get more jobs for the money and work on healing the suffering state economy, mirroring President Obama’s intention to reboot the national economy by repairing transportation-related infrastructure.

SGA gives Rhode Island top marks for repairing, not building, roads [Providence Business News, 2/4/2011]

Smart Growth America has given Rhode Island top marks in its latest report for investing all of its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money in repairing roads, instead of building new ones.

The report…gives Rhode Island a seven-way tie for first place for investing 100 percent of its ARRA road allocation, totaling $137.4 million, for repair and maintenance and investing 7.6 percent in transit and non motorized transportation projects.

Local leaders scraping for transportation money [Gazette.net, 2/4/2011]

1000 Friends of Maryland, an advocacy group focused on development issues, says the state needs to focus on re-evaluating transportation projects in its current pipeline before raising taxes.

“We are very, very clear that we’ll only support increased funding if the system changes,” said Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director for 1000 Friends of Maryland. “We’re not going to support [raising more money] to support a broken system.”

Many states spent transportation funds poorly [New Urban Network, 2/4/2011]

Smart Growth America says more jobs would have been created if governments had concentrated stimulus funds on repairs and existing transit.

As part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (AARA), the federal government disbursed $26.6 billion in transportation money, hoping to create new jobs or save existing ones during the worst economic crisis of the past 70 years.

A new report from Smart Growth America declares the results deficient. “Too many states did not use ARRA transportation funds on projects that would have provided the greatest number of jobs — short- and long-term,” says the report, Recent Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation.

Report: Stimulus Transit Projects Create Nearly Double The Work of Road Projects [Transportation Nation, 2/4/2011]

A new report from Smart Growth America analyzes data released by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and finds that for every billion dollars spend under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act — the stimulus bill — on roads, 2.4 million job-hours were created. But for every billion spent on transit, 4.2 million job hours were created, a seventy percent increase.

Renewing America’s Existing Infrastructure: Efficient Job Creation [Crossroads, 2/4/2011]

The new month has brought about a great read from one of RenewLV’s favorite organizations, Smart Growth America. “Recent Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation” takes a look at a subject everyone is interested in as deficits climb and government dollars promise to become even more scarce: what types of government investments yield the highest returns? Early last week I shared the BiPartisan Policy Center’s take on infrastructure investment, and SGA’s conclusions coincide with BPC’s suggestion to focus on outcomes, as they base feasibility on job creation. Smart Growth America’s newly revamped website has a plethora smart growth news, resources, and discussion in addition to this newest study.