The economic stimulus from early 2009 was largely about creating jobs quickly, and so included a requirement that states obligate half of their flexible stimulus money in 120 days. In June 2009, SGA reported on what they decided to do with the money, and found that many states missed an opportunity to make as much progress as possible in filling the nation’s most pressing transportation needs and creating jobs as quickly as possible. They built new roads while old ones were crumbling, and passed on an opportunity to catch up on investing in public transportation — both of which are contrary to both the intent of ARRA and to what people have said they want transportation money spent on. The states had to obligate all of their money within a year, so SGA has once again gone through every project to see where your money is going. The results? Not much changed between the 120-day obligations and the full year.
Through the end of 2009, investments by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in public transportation have created almost twice as many jobs per dollar as investments in highways – and the advantage is growing. The most recent data from states shows that every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 19,299 job-months, compared to 10,493 job-months for every billion spent on highway infrastructure. Public transportation projects create more jobs than road projects because they spend less money on land and more on labor, and because projects are often more complex, whether laying track or manufacturing vehicles.
In today’s announcement of $1.5 billion in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) awards, the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) showed the kinds of transportation projects that move people and freight in a way that makes places stronger, cleaner, and safer. DOT received 1,380 applications for the $1.5 billion pot, for a grand total of $56.5 billion in funds requested. The 51 projects announced under TIGER, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), include…
An analysis of congressional data by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups and Smart Growth America shows that stimulus funds spent on public transportation were a more effective job creator than stimulus funds spent on highways. In the 10 months since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed, investing in public transportation produced twice as many jobs as investing in roads.
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.