Research Confirms President Obama’s SOTU Remarks: Smart Transportation Spending Creates Jobs, Grows the Economy
Report shows investing in repair and maintenance projects and public transportation can help Connecticut revitalize America’s transportation system and rebuild the economy; Connecticut ranked first.
Connecticut, February 4, 2011 – A new report released by Smart Growth America (SGA) provides Connecticut with a roadmap to pursue President Obama’s call to repair our crumbling roads and bridges and invest in public transportation to jumpstart the economy. The report, which highlights how well states created jobs using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) flexible transportation dollars, provides Governor Malloy, the Department of Transportation, and the legislature with a smart investment strategy to get more jobs from the same number of transportation dollars and help rebuild the economy effectively.
Connecticut ranked first, based on how well the state used its portion of the $26.6 billion in flexible ARRA transportation dollars to create jobs. The report was released two years after the passage of ARRA and a week after President Obama’s State of the Union Address and his clarion call to rebuild America and create jobs.
“Smart Growth America commends Connecticut for using its federal stimulus funding to maximize job creation,” Geoff Anderson, President/CEO of Smart Growth America said. “Connecticut should continue on this same path of smart, fiscally responsible transportation policies when it considers its 2011 transportation budget. If Connecticut continues to allocate the majority of its transportation dollars in its new budget to the repair and maintenance of roads and bridges, and expanding access to public transportation, the state can save money and put people back to work.”
Connecticut leaders understand that rebuilding our economy is the most significant challenge of our generation. As the President said in his address, “To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods and information…America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.” This report analyzes state-reported ARRA data and finds that wise spending of transportation dollars produces immediate results in terms of jobs.
The states that made the best use of funds invested in public transportation projects and maintained and repaired existing roads and bridges. The states that ranked poorly focused on building new roads and bridges.
Connecticut spent 100 percent of its ARRA transportation funds on repairing and maintaining roads and bridges; nothing on building new ones; and 9.1 percent on public transportation and non-motorized projects such as trails, bicycle projects and pedestrian projects.
"We're proud that Connecticut “fixed it first” and created jobs critical to our state's recovery. We urge even greater emphasis on mass transit funding, which has a triple benefit: it creates jobs, gets people to their jobs, and improves the quality of life for all of us," said 1000 Friends of Connecticut Chair Susan Merrow.
"We have seen a gradual shift in Connecticut toward investments in public transit where we get the biggest bang for the buck - dollar for dollar, public transportation projects create the highest percentage of jobs. These investments are good for both the economy and the environment," added Lori Brown, Executive Director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.
SGA determined its rankings by assessing how states invested their ARRA flexible transportation dollars, as reported by the states themselves to Congress.
Historically, repair work on roads and bridges generates 16 percent more jobs per dollar than new bridge and road construction. Repair and maintenance projects spend money faster and create jobs more quickly than building new roads because they employ more kinds of workers, spend less money on land and more on wages, and spend less time on plans and permits.
Additionally, historical investments in public transportation have generated 31 percent more jobs per dollar than new construction of roads and bridges. SGA’s analysis of ARRA spending shows that even more jobs were created with public transportation spending – these projects generated 70 percent more jobs per dollar than new highway construction.
"Our new administration in Hartford and new leadership at Department Of Transportation have a chance now to build on this good news and firmly establish the connection between wise spending on transit, fixing existing infrastructure, and growing smart," Susan Merrow concluded.
For the complete report, go to http://smartgrowthamerica.org/documents/lessons-from-the-stimulus.pdf.
Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transit or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For additional information, please visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.