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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

New Stimulus Data: Road Funds 77% Under Contract, Transit at 74%

|
As of the end of February, nearly $5.4 billion of transit stimulus money, or 74 percent, was under contract for projects in the 50 states and D.C., according to a Streetsblog Capitol Hill analysis of data released today by the House transportation committee. (Photo: DMI Blog) The success rate of transit stimulus spending was slightly […]

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

|
During debate over the White House’s $787 billion economic stimulus law, transit advocates watched as their projects were shortchanged and more "shovel-ready" road projects got the lion’s share of the transport pot — about $8.4 billion, compared with $27.5 billion for highways and bridges. (Photo: DMI Blog) But transit money is getting put to use […]

Spending Transportation Stimulus Money Fast vs. Spending it Well

|
How fast is the economic stimulus law’s $48 billion in transportation aid being spent — and is it being spent on the right projects? The relative importance of those two questions made for lively debate in the House transportation committee yesterday. Though $29.4 billion of the transportation stimulus pot has been promised to specific projects, […]

Behind President Obama’s Call For More Infrastructure Projects

|
Tomorrow night, President Obama will unveil his jobs plan before a skeptical Congress. It’s unclear how much of the $300 billion proposal will go to infrastructure, but the president has said that will be a centerpiece of the proposal. An infrastructure bank and a new version of the expired Build America Bonds program could also […]

Road Stimulus Money: Half Spent on Repaving, 17% on Widening

|
The $787 billion economic stimulus law provided $27 billion for roads and bridges. But is the money going to shore up aging infrastructure or to add new highway lanes? Nonpartisan auditors at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined the question during a House transportation committee hearing today. And as the Associated Press reports in the […]