Report: 21st Century Transportation

What We Learned From the Stimulus

And How To Use What We Learned to Speed Job Creation in the 2010 Jobs Bill
Released by: U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Center for Neighborhood Technology, and Smart Growth America

ARRA data show that investing in public transportation creates more jobs

The latest data on stimulus spending show that funds spent on public transportation were a more effective job creator than stimulus funds spent on highways. In the 10 months since the merican Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed, investing in public transportation produced twice as many jobs per dollar as investing in roads:

  • Every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 16,419 job-months.
  • Every billion dollars spent on projects funded under highway infrastructure programs produced 8,781 job-months.

(Because transportation projects are of different durations, a “job month” is a more accurate way of comparing quantities of employment created than is a “job year”.)

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.

These results are calculated from data provided by the states through October 31, and released by the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on December 10.

President Obama has said he is concerned that the goal of quickly boosting employment with shovel-ready projects may conflict with making long-term investments in America's future.

These results show that investing in public transportation produces the most return for the money in both categories:

  • it is a more effective direct job creator; and
  • it builds the transportation systems we need for the future.

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