Mapped: How Federal Funding Fails to Match Demand for Transit in the U.S.

At the current rate of federal investment, it would take 30 years to fund the American transit projects currently in the construction or final engineering stages. Map of transit projects in the pipeline: ##http://reconnectingamerica.org/resource-center/jumpstarting-the-transit-space-race-2011-interactive-map/##Reconnecting America##

UPDATE: Corrects the post to say that the map reflects all ongoing projects, not just those in the final engineering and construction stages.

How much is New York’s Second Avenue Subway estimated to cost? What transit lines really make up LA’s ambitious 30/10 initiative? Besides the silver line to Dulles Airport, which may or may not ever be completed, what other changes are projected for DC’s metro system? And what’s all this construction in Fort Worth?

The answers to all those questions — and in fact, just about any question you might have about ongoing transit projects — can now be answered in one handy map, brought to you by the chief cartographer of the livable streets movement, Jeff Wood of Reconnecting America.

Jeff is still inviting updates and corrections, so some crowdsourced factchecking is in order before we can officially declare this the authoritative encyclopedia of all U.S. transit projects. Still, it’s a useful compendium of all transit-related progress afoot in the country — and the limitations of the federal programs for putting transit plans into action.

Reconnecting America found strong demand for transit projects around the country but a dearth of federal support for such projects. “There is a huge backlog of federal funding through the New Starts program,” the organization says. If all of the transit projects in this map were funded through the federal New Starts Program at the current spending rate, it would take 73 years to fund them all.

The map shows all planned transit expansions. If we were to limit the list to just those projects in the construction or final engineering stages, the wait for federal funding is still 30 long years.

Reconnecting America notes that the projects in the late stages of engineering and construction alone would “connect 3.5 million more jobs to transit, an increase of 25 percent, and nearly 4 million households would gain enhanced transit access, with almost half of those being lower-income households.”

The takeaway, they say, is that the New Starts Program isn’t sufficient to meet demand and is not well suited to support the rapid build-out many regions are calling for.

  • Anonymous

    Is there any evidence federal funding has any roll to play in transportation?   I’m starting to feel like Ron Paul thinking only those things which absolutely cannot be handled by the states should be handled by the federal government.  I trust neither party at the congressional or house level.

  • justin

    This leaves out San Juan, Puerto Rico’s bid for the Tren Satour http://www.elnuevodia.com/santinibuscaapoyofederalparatrenliviano-1016205.html

  • Kinverson

    This map (and list) is awesome, it’s great to have this information all in one place. As far as the Silver Line goes, it will definitely get to Dulles. There is some doubt as to whether or not the last station past Dulles (and indeed the Dulles rail yard) will be built, but the line is being built by the airport authority, so it is going to get to the airport station. That much is already funded.

  • There are just over 40 projects on the New Starts List though the FTA is probably aware of others that are looking to submit.  However these are the most visible to congress and the Senate when they are figuring out cuts.

    http://fta.dot.gov/12305_12439.html

    The Space Race map has over 640 projects in most states in planning.  That’s a bit of a difference and shows the demand for these types of projects around the country.  These are new projects, think about the need for upgraded service and repair of existing. 

  • Anonymous

    @djconnel:disqus This is exactly the reason why an otherwise liberal voter like myself has been giving Ron Paul’s ideas some serious consideration.

    It’s frustrating to live in a state progressive enough to pursue all sorts of transit/bike/ped projects, with a population (tax base) more than sufficient to support these projects, and have to wait around the Federal Government to stop flinging their own shit at each other and let us use some of the money we’ve shoveled over to them to actually do something.

    Sorry, did that sound cynical? I guess as time goes on I’m falling into a place where I’m either rooting for secession or a President who believes the states are way better at figuring out what’s best for themselves than the Federal Govt, and getting rid of most of the federal taxes so we can use that money at the state level.

  • Anonymous

    @djconnel:disqus This is exactly the reason why an otherwise liberal voter like myself has been giving Ron Paul’s ideas some serious consideration.

    It’s frustrating to live in a state progressive enough to pursue all sorts of transit/bike/ped projects, with a population (tax base) more than sufficient to support these projects, and have to wait around the Federal Government to stop flinging their own shit at each other and let us use some of the money we’ve shoveled over to them to actually do something.

    Sorry, did that sound cynical? I guess as time goes on I’m falling into a place where I’m either rooting for secession or a President who believes the states are way better at figuring out what’s best for themselves than the Federal Govt, and getting rid of most of the federal taxes so we can use that money at the state level.

  • Anonymous

    @djconnel:disqus This is exactly the reason why an otherwise liberal voter like myself has been giving Ron Paul’s ideas some serious consideration.

    It’s frustrating to live in a state progressive enough to pursue all sorts of transit/bike/ped projects, with a population (tax base) more than sufficient to support these projects, and have to wait around the Federal Government to stop flinging their own shit at each other and let us use some of the money we’ve shoveled over to them to actually do something.

    Sorry, did that sound cynical? I guess as time goes on I’m falling into a place where I’m either rooting for secession or a President who believes the states are way better at figuring out what’s best for themselves than the Federal Govt, and getting rid of most of the federal taxes so we can use that money at the state level.

  • I’m with urbanreason and djconnel. The breathtaking inability of Congress to do anything sensible or useful on a federal level means those states with an interest in transit really would be better off handling it themselves. Give the money the feds collect from gas taxes in each state directly to the states to do with (or squander) as they like. (I would say the Federal Government should just reserve the right to inspect and shut down any unsafe bridges, roads or other transit infrastructure. If a state would rather have a bridge shut down than repair it, fine.) I really don’t think the situation would end up worse than it is now and would probably end up better because the Federal Government would not be taking its cut off the top.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life, but I am to the point the only politicians on a national level I have much respect for are Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul.

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