The Recovery Act at One Year: New Jobs Data Show Growing Advantage from Stimulus Investments in Public Transportation

For Immediate Release

The Recovery Act at One Year: New Jobs Data Show Growing Advantage from Stimulus Investments in Public Transportation

WASHINGTON - Through the end of 2010,
stimulus investments in public transportation have created almost twice as many
jobs per dollar as highway spending - and the advantage is growing.

The most
recent data from states
, recently made available by the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, 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. That difference has grown by more than 1,000 job-months
over the last two months of official state spending reports.

The new data confirms the findings
announced in "What
We Learned From the Stimulus
," a report the U.S. Public Interest Research Group
(U.S. PIRG), the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), and Smart Growth
America (SGA) co-released earlier this year.

"As the American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) hits its one-year anniversary, and as Congress considers
additional job creation measures to spur the economy, these differences are
important," said Phineas
Baxandall, Senior Analyst at U.S. PIRG
.

Public transportation projects create more
jobs than road projects because they spend less money on land and more on
labor, and because the public transportation projects are often more complex,
whether laying track or manufacturing vehicles.  According to a report
from the White House's Council of Economic Advisors, in the fourth quarter,
transit was the sector which created the most jobs of all the clean energy
investments made with ARRA funds.

"Not only do public
transportation investments create more jobs, more quickly than highways...
We now see the gap widening over time as the stimulus advances,"
Baxandall added. "If job creation was an Olympic event, public
transportation would already be laps ahead... At the one-year mark, the
job-creation results from investments in public transit are laps ahead of the
highway spending, and it isn't even close."

U.S. PIRG, CNT, and the SGA updated their
January report to mark the one-year-anniversary of President Obama's
signing of the stimulus package.

"Shifting as much of our
transportation spending to the most job-intensive activities as we can is
essential," said the CNT's Scott Bernstein. "The Senate
should pass companion legislation to the House's Jobs for Main Street bill, and
make it effective by giving transit spending parity with highways."

"States have put more than $22.6
billion of transportation stimulus funds under contract," said Geoff
Anderson, President of SGA. "We've gotten a lot of vital projects
for that money - and we've also learned a lot. Treasury Secretary
Tim Geithner just said ‘Our basic test should be: what's going to add
jobs?' At the stimulus's one-year mark, we've learned that
the answer is ‘more public transportation.'"

U.S. PIRG also recently
released a report which lays out the advantages of high-speed rail.

Among other findings, The
Right Track
shows that a national high-speed rail network that competes
with inter-city commuter air travel could create up to 1.6 million construction
jobs, cut our energy consumption, improve travel, and assist in the resurgence
of American manufacturing.

 

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

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