It’s Infrastructure Week again and politicians are back at it, bemoaning our “crumbling roads and bridges” and insisting we must spend more to fix the problem. But we’ve got some cold water to throw on this pity party: Despite more transportation spending over the last decade, the percentage of the roads nationwide in “poor condition” increased from 14 to 20 percent.
During a special week in September we called Rebuild America’s Communities Week, elected local leaders in the First & Main coalition from small and mid-sized towns and cities across the country carried a clear and unified message to their representatives who were at home for recess: “We need reliable federal partners to support our homegrown efforts to rebuild our downtowns, restore our economies, and improve opportunity for everyone.”
Stimulus spending data shows that funds spent on public transportation were a more effective job creator than stimulus funds spent on highways. This analysis shows that in the first ten months of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), investments in public transportation created twice as many jobs per dollar as investments in highways.
Through the end of 2009, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) investments in public transportation produced almost twice as many jobs per dollar as investments made in roads: Every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 19,299 job-months. Every billion dollars spent on projects funded under highway infrastructure programs produced 10,493 job-months. As Congress and the Administration discuss a possible jobs bill, the implication is clear: shifting available funds toward public transportation will increase the resulting employment.
Federally subsidized flood insurance makes it easier to build homes in flood-prone areas. Image via Wikimedia.
This is the first in a series of posts discussing recommendations from our new platform Federal Investment in Real Estate: A Call for Action. The series will highlight what is lacking in current federal real estate policy and how our recommended improvements could generate better returns for families, communities and taxpayers.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is intended to provide property owners and renters with a way to financially protect themselves from flood damage. Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the NFIP works closely with nearly 90 private insurance companies to offer flood insurance to homeowners, renters and business owners.
Crossposted from Transportation for America.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Transportation and Infrastructure committee chairman John Mica (R-FL) released an outline of principles for a proposed six-year transportation bill. The $230 billion, six-year proposal represents a 35 percent spending reduction with potentially significant impacts on road and bridge repair and maintenance, as well as public transportation and safer walking and bicycling. James Corless, director of Transportation for America, had this to say in response to the Chairman’s proposal on state flexibility, transit funding and streamlining project delivery:
“We commend Chairman Mica and his fellow drafters on the push to get this long-stalled bill moving, and we appreciate the effort to consolidate programs, leverage non-federal resources and deliver projects more quickly. However, we are skeptical that investments at this level can meet the country’s infrastructure needs.
|Daniel Inouye, Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
United States Capitol, Room S-128
Washington, DC 20510
|Thad Cochran, Vice Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
United States Capitol, Room S-206
Washington, DC 20510
|Patty Murray, Chair
Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, Urban Development and Related Agencies
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 133
Washington, DC 20510
|Susan Collins, Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation Housing, Urban Development and Related Agencies
Hart Senate Office Building, Room 123
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Appropriations Leaders:
Congress’ decisions about the federal budget can have immense implications for communities across America and their ability to rebuild local economies and improve fiscal stability. As you consider this year’s difficult budget decisions, we, the undersigned group of concerned organizations, urge you to support the federal programs that keep communities strong, healthy and economically vibrant.
Specifically, we urge you to support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and related grant programs in the FY11 continuing resolution and the FY12 appropriations process.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities helps community leaders get the most out of each federal or state dollar invested in their neighborhoods. These programs make federal investments go even further by helping local leaders leverage private sector investment, save money in municipal budgets and by helping families save on things like transportation – all while creating jobs. Our organizations strongly support these programs, including:
- Continued funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, which provides Regional Planning Grants and Community Challenge Grants that help communities to leverage private sector investment, improve strategic growth, streamline regulatory barriers and make strategic investments with limited taxpayer dollars.
- Continued funding for the Department of Transportation’s TIGER program in FY11, which strengthens the economy, creates jobs, reduces gridlock, and provides safe, low-cost transportation choices to our citizens.
- The full commitment of obligated funds to grants received by more than 87 regions around the country under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative and the Department of Transportation’s TIGER program in FY09 and FY10.
We acknowledge that this year’s budget decisions are difficult ones and that Congress needs to cut wasteful spending, but the Partnership for Sustainable Communities helps the federal government work smarter. The Partnership is a vital opportunity to effectively coordinate and leverage federal programs for the greatest long-term benefit to our communities. Cutting these programs would be a short-sighted solution to the budget shortfall, and one which would stunt the economic growth of regions currently benefitting from the program.
We urge you to support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities in the FY11 continuing resolution and the FY12 appropriations process.
|American Institute of Architects
American Planning Association
American Public Transportation Association
American Society of Landscape Architects
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Center for Community Progress
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Center for Rural Strategies
CEOs for Cities
Coalition of Urban Serving Universities
Congress for the New Urbanism
Denver Housing Authority
Enterprise Community Partners
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Friends of the Earth
Good News Mountaineer Garage
Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
International Downtown Association
League of Rural Voters
Local Government Commission
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors
Low Income Investment Fund
Metropolitan Planning Council
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
National Association of Local Government Environment Professionals
National Complete Streets Coalition
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Housing Conference
National Housing Trust
National Resources Defense Council
National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Wildlife Federation
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Oregon Public Health Institute
Partnership for Working Families
Project for Public Spaces
Public Health Law & Policy
Quitman County Development Organization
Safe States Alliance
Smart Growth America
Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future
Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments
The Partnership for Working Families
Transportation for America
U.S. Green Building Council
Upstream Public Health
United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Click here to download a copy of this letter (PDF)
Last week, the House of Representatives voted to cut funding for innovative transportation and development programs that help communities across the country build stronger economies, create jobs and provide transportation choices for the 21st century. The Senate will soon be faced with the same decision and we need your help to make sure these crucial programs are preserved for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Among the cuts proposed are funds for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an unprecedented collaboration between three federal agencies that helps communities across the country implement their smart growth plans. The Partnership helps community leaders get the most out of each federal or state dollar invested in their neighborhoods. By leveraging private sector investment, saving money in municipal budgets, helping families save on things like transportation and creating jobs, programs like the Partnership for Sustainable Communities make sure federal funds go as far as possible.
Smart Growth America analyzes states’ investments in infrastructure to determine whether they made the best use of their spending based on job creation numbers. “Recent Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation” evaluates how successful states have been in creating jobs with their flexible $26.6 billion of transportation funds from the American Reinvestment … Continued
This report reviews American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project choices to answer critical questions about states’ accountability to the taxpayers who are providing tens of billions of dollars for new transportation projects.
Are all transportation projects of equal value to long‐term economic growth? If not, is it possible to select projects with better return and still move money and employ people in the economy quickly? Smart Growth America commissioned the following papers to answer these questions.