Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Federal Stimulus

Killing the Myth of the ‘More Shovel-Ready’ Road Stimulus, Part II

It has become one of the most enduring anecdotes surrounding the Obama administration's $787 billion economic stimulus law: Democrats' contention that White House adviser Larry Summers sliced transit aid by more than half, to $8.4 billion, out of concerns that projects were not "shovel-ready" enough.

Shovel_ready.jpg(Photo: DMI Blog)

Has Summers been vindicated by the data? Streetsblog Capitol Hill reported last month that as of August 31, transit stimulus money was getting spent at a higher rate than the $27.5 billion in highway stimulus cash. Even when factoring in transportation projects that were out for bid but not yet begun, state-level reports to Congress found that transit and highways were on the same footing.

Okay ... but things could have changed in September, right? The House transportation committee released updated stimulus spending reports yesterday, as it happens, and they show that transit stimulus spending is still outpacing highway stimulus.

Streetsblog Capitol Hill's analysis found $627.7 million in transit aid spent by the states, or 7.5 percent of the total pot. Highway stimulus spending totaled $1.64 billion, or 6 percent of the entire fund for roads and bridges.

We'll continue crunching the monthly numbers as they are released -- or until Summers issues an unlikely mea culpa. In the meantime, check out video of Rep. Pete DeFazio's (D-OR) no-holds-barred take on this issue after the jump.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Driving Inflation

Driving — specifically, the cost of car ownership — is one of the main factors behind inflation, according to the Eno Center for Transportation.

April 16, 2024

SEE IT: How Much (Or How Little) Driving is Going on in America’s Top Metros

Check it out: The lowest-mileage region isn't the one you'd think.

April 16, 2024

Monday’s Headlines Bring Another Setback

The Biden administration's new rule requiring states to report their greenhouse gas emissions from transportation was dealt another blow when the Senate voted to repeal it.

April 15, 2024

‘The Bike Is the Cure’: Meet New Congressional Bike Caucus Chair Mike Thompson

Meet the incoming co-chair of the congressional bike caucus — and learn more about how he's getting other legislators riding.

April 15, 2024

Calif. High-Speed Rail Takes a Step Towards Acquiring Trains

The contract calls for two prototype trainsets for testing to be delivered by 2028, and four trainsets to be used on the "early operating segment" between Merced and Bakersfield, ready between 2030 and 2033.

April 12, 2024
See all posts