“We will use the transportation funding in the Act to deliver jobs and restore our nation’s economy.We will emphasize sustainable investment and focus our policies on the people, businesses and communities who use the transportation systems. And, we will focus on the quality of our environment.We will build and restore our transportation foundations until the American dream is returned.”
- Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation
As part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), states and Metropolitan PlanningOrganizations (MPOs) received $26.6 billion intransportation funds that could be spent on almost any surface transportation needs. While there weremany national goals for this money, arguably themost pressing need was to save and create jobs.
The question Smart Growth America answersin this report is whether states spent theirexible transportation money on projects thatcreated the maximum number of jobs.The short answer to that question,unfortunately, is no.
Too many states did not use ARRA transportationfunds on projects that would have provided thegreatest number of jobs—short- and long-term.This report explores how states allocated theirtransportation dollars, analyzes the resulting num-ber of jobs created per dollar spent and providesrecommendations on how states could have betterinvested their dollars to create the most jobs.
How States Could (and Should) Have Spentthe Money
According to a recent national survey conducted bySmart Growth America, 91 percent of voters believethat maintaining and repairing our roads andbridges should be the top or a high priority for statespending on transportation programs, and 68 per-cent believe that expanding and improving bus, rail,van service, biking, walking, and other transporta-tion choices should be the top or a high priority.This is because they believe our government has anobligation to citizens to create jobs and implement policies that will strengthen our economy. When it comes to transportation spending, they don’t think we need to build more roads and highways, but rath-er we need to ix what we already have. Moreover,they understand that public transportation choicesgive people low cost ways to get to work when theyneed them, particularly in these dificult times.Not only does the public think maintaining andrepairing roads and bridges and expanding publictransportation options are the areas states shouldfocus on, the data show clearly that this is the right thing to do.
Smart Growth America | Recent Lessons from the Stimulus | February 2011 | Page 1
Recent Lessons from the Stimulus:
Transportation Funding and Job Creation
91% of voters
believe that maintaining and repairingour existing roads and bridgesshould be the top or a high priorityfor state governments.