Friday, June 18, 2010

Spending on Public Transportation Creates More Jobs than Spending on Highways

by: mooncat

Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 14:43:48 PM CST

Public Trans vs. HighwayWith the Alabama Legislature considering a billion dollar transportation bill sometimes called a Highway Plan, sometimes a Jobs or Stimulus Plan because it could produce as many as 27,000 jobs, this study fromSmart Growth America ought to be required reading for legislators.
The data tell us that every billion dollars in public transportation investments made as of October 31 2009 produced roughly an additional 8,000 job-months compared to highway projects. ARRA transportation funds have so far gone disproportionately to highways. If the total road + public transportation funding in the just-passed House jobs bill were invested equally in public transportation and highways, the same outlay would produce 71,415 additional job-months, equivalent to year-round employment for 5,951 additional people.

Public transportation creates more jobs by spending less on land and more on people

The increased job creation and retention that states are reporting from ARRA spending on public transportation is consistent with the data collected and reported prior to ARRA.Every previous study of the employment impacts of transportation spending has found that investment in public transportation produces more jobs than investment in roads.
A billion dollars spent on public transportation projects created almost twice as many jobs as a billion spent on road and bridge projects, and public transportation keeps giving to the economy long after the shovels are put away.
... every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 16,419 job-months, while the same amount spent on highway infrastructure projects produced 8,781 job-months.
According to SGA, public transportation spending leads more directly to job growth than highway spending for several reasons. First, less money is spent acquiring land, which means more money is spent actually building something. Second, all those buses, trains and subways need people to operate them and maintain the infrastructure. And third, public transit requires a workforce with more diverse skills than highway construction.
Even better, Schroeer said, public transit can help save jobs because it allows people to get to work — and those are jobs Smart Growth America didn’t include in its analysis. When transit programs are cut or don’t exist to begin with, “there’s a negative impact on folks’ mobility to get to work, to get to education,” Schroeer said. “It’s part of the fabric of communities, whether you use it or not.”