Transit Investments from Stimulus Generate More Jobs per Dollar than Highway Projects

From Smart Growth America

Updated with latest numbers released 2/9/10 covering up to 12/31/09. 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. Through the end of 2009, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) investments in public transportation produced almost twice as many jobs per dollar as investing in roads:

  • Every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 19,299 job-months.
  • Every billion dollars spent on projects funded under highway infrastructure programs produced 10,493 job-months.

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.

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Type of Project Recovery Act Funds Associated with Projects Under Contract Direct, On-Project Jobs Created or Sustained (Full-Time-Equivalent Job Months)* Job-months per billion dollars
Public Transportation $4,856,851,324 93,733 19,299
Highway Infrastructure (Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds) $17,759,758,928 186,350 10,493

These results are calculated from data provided by the states through December 31, 2009, and released by the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Feburary 9, 2010.

(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.”)