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Transportation Funding, an Effective Way to Stimulate Economy

Transportation Funding, an Effective Way to Stimulate Economy

By Neal Tepel
February 4, 2010

Of the $10 billion in federal stimulus money distributed to New York City as of September 2010, just 7 percent ($700 million) has gone to highway, bridge, mass transit and other transportation-oriented construction projects, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of data supplied by the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

By contrast, $2.6 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was devoted to health and human services, with the bulk used for Medicare and Medicaid assistance. Another $2.4 billion was used to reimburse New York City for unemployment insurance expenditures. Other significant stimulus outlays were devoted to Education ($1.8 billion), nutritional programs ($849 million) and housing assistance ($772 million).

Actual spending on New York City transportation projects increased significantly in 2010. As of January 15, 2010, nearly one year after Congress passed ARRA, just $857,000 had been spent on transportation projects. By September 2010, that number had jumped to $700 million. Of the $700 million, $409 million has been distributed through the Federal Highway Administration, primarily for highway and bridge work. Another $276 million has been distributed by the Federal Transit Administration for mass transit projects in New York City.

According to New York Building Congress President Richard Anderson, “The overall stimulus package has fallen short of its promise as a jobs generator. The lion’s share of the money has been devoted to programs designed to lessen the impact of the economic downturn on individuals and offset operating deficits of local governments. While such spending offers an important safety net during a severe downturn, it does little to stimulate the broader economy, create new jobs and prepare the region for renewed growth.”

In its analysis, the Building Congress also found that New York City has received 27 percent of the $2.6 billion allocated to transportation projects statewide as of September 2010. As we plan for the expansion of the job market and full employment, improving infrastructure is the most efficient method of putting New Yorkers to work and improving the lives of those living and working in New York City.

For more information including charts, raw data, and to see previous Construction Outlook Updates, visit www.buildingcongress.com/outlook

February 6, 2011

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