Report: States not spending stimulus money effectively
States are not making as much progress as possible in spending funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), according to a report by Washington-based Smart Growth America (SGA). Not enough of the $26 billion in ARRA funding for transportation projects has gone to repairing existing roads and bridges or to fund public transportation, the report says.
SGA released “The States and the Stimulus” on Monday to coincide with the 120-day deadline for states to commit 50 percent of the ARRA money they are scheduled to receive. The report sought to answer three questions regarding states and urban areas’ use of ARRA funds: Is the money being used to create jobs and new transportation options; are the recipients meeting ARRA’s objectives; and, is the decision making process transparent and accountable?
Among the major findings is that almost one-third of the $6.6 billion for the ARRA Surface Transportation Program is going to new road and bridge projects despite multi-trillion dollar backlogs on needed road repairs. Also, only $185 million of the $8.4 billion in ARRA funding for public transportation projects has been allocated so far. As a result, the ARRA objectives of creating jobs and modernizing the transportation system are not being met as quickly as they could be, according to the report.
The report also found that transparency is lacking because many project choices are made public only after the decisions to select them have been made. Also, there is no clear expression of goals the projects should meet, and few or no repercussions for failing to meet those goals.
Download the “The States and the Stimulus” report as a PDF.