Cities get short-changed on stimulus funds, report says
The nation’s major metropolitan areas have been short-changed in the receipt of federal stimulus funds for transportation infrastructure administered by governors and state highway departments, according to a preliminary report issued June 12 by the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). Because cities contribute so much to the national economy, USCM officials say, limiting the amount they receive from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) could dampen economic recovery.
While the nation’s largest 85 metro areas account for 73% of the nation’s gross domestic product, they garnered only 48.3%, or $8.8 billion, of the $18.26 billion available from ARRA for surface transportation projects, according to the USCM report. “This report indicates that the national economy will only recover when our metro areas recover,” Miami Mayor and USCM President Manny Diaz said in a statement. “Yet in allocating stimulus transportation funds, states continue to underfund the very metros that drive the nation’s economy.” The first phase of funding allocations will be complete on June 30.
The report also finds that the largest 85 metro areas account for 86.6% of traffic congestion costs, but receive only 48.3% of state-approved funding for congestion relief, resulting a $7.1 billion shortfall that could be used to fund metro projects that relieve traffic congestion and reduce costs to travelers and local economies. “Our nation’s metro economies rank high among world economies, but we are saddled with an outdated federal and state transportation system that prevents us from meeting the nations’ needs,” said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.
View the report on USCM’s Web site.