NY and CA: How Did They Spend Transportation Stimulus Money?

In an economic recovery report released today by New York Gov. David Paterson (D), the state broke down its plans for the estimated $31 billion it received as part of the Obama administration’s first stimulus law.

new_york_city_transit_new_york_city_ny014.jpgNew York spent more than half of its transport stimulus money on transit. (Photo: PlanetWare)

A chart of New York’s stimulus spending shows that, out of a total of $2.4 billion in expected transportation aid, the state plans to direct $1.12 billion to highways and bridges and $1.22 to transit.

With the federal government still dividing its transport funding along an 80-20 split that favors roads, New York’s decision to spend $100 million more stimulus aid on transit represents a welcome break from tradition. In California, where San Francisco and Los Angeles maintain large transit networks, roads received slightly more than double the amount of stimulus aid going to rail and buses.

Directly comparing New York and California’s transportation funding choices would be the epitome of the old idiom about apples and oranges. But as the congressional jobs debate sharpens its focus on infrastructure projects, it’s worth noting that the roads-transit split is only one chapter in a bigger story.

A federal "fix-it-first" mandate, which environmental groups and transportation reformers are urging Congress to include in the new jobs bill, would help break down the cultural divide between different transport modes by ensuring that repairs of existing infrastructure come first. After all, crumbling and pothole-ridden roads affect pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike.

California, incidentally, lacks a "fix-it-first" requirement despite ranking 49th out of 50 states in recent rankings of nationwide road quality.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

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 […]

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, 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. (Photo: DMI Blog) Has Summers been vindicated by the data? […]

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, […]

House Jobs Bill Mimics the Stimulus: $27.5B for Roads, $8.4B for Transit

|
The House is slated to vote as soon as tomorrow on a job-creation package that includes $27.5 billion for highways and $8.4 billion for transit, according to a transportation committee document obtained by Streetsblog Capitol Hill. House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) (Photo: Bike Portland via Flickr) That funding divide mirrors the spending levels […]