Report: Transit Not Traffic

What we learned from the stimulus

A new analysis by Smart Growth America, U.S. PIRG, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology assesses job creation through transportation spending in the first ten months of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and shows that investments in public transportation have created twice as many jobs as investments in highways. On December 16th, The House of Representatives passed the Jobs for Main Street Act (H.R. 2847) with investments in transportation that largely mimic those created in the ARRA.  This analysis shows that by directing more funding toward public transportation in its version of the jobs bill, the Senate has an opportunity to create more jobs while also making a needed long-term investment in the transportation systems we need for the future.

The report builds upon an initial analysis released before the December 16, 2009 House passage of the Jobs for Main Street Act. Key findings include:

  • Directing a higher percentage of transportation funds towards public transportation will create more jobs than current investment levels.
  • If the total road + public transportation funding in the just-passed House jobs bill were invested equally in public transportation and highways, the same level of overall funding would produce 71,415 additional job-months, equivalent to year-round employment for 5,951 additional workers.
  • Data provided by the states for the first ten months of Recovery Act spending shows that investments in public transportation created twice as many jobs as investing in roads.
  • Every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 16,419 job-months, as compared with 8,781 job-months for every billion spent on highway infrastructure.
  • The speed of spending has varied little across public transportation and highway infrastructure projects, suggesting there is no reason to prioritize funding categories based on the rate of spending.
  • As the Senate prepares to take up a jobs bill, lawmakers should consider that investments in public transportation will produce the most jobs and provide affordable, sustainable options for their constituents.


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