White Paper — Recovery Act Transportation Investments: Delivering Real-world Results

The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), co-chaired by American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and the Associated General Contractor of America (AGC), today released the  white paper, Recovery Act Transportation Investments: Delivering Real-world Results (click here for a downloadable PDF.).

Thanks to the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act’s enactment one year ago today, hundreds of thousands of jobs in the transportation construction industry have been supported by the measure’s investments in critical infrastructure upgrades.  In fact, given state budget difficulties and significant declines in private sector transportation construction activity, the recovery act was one of the few bright spots for our industry in 2009.

To appreciate the success of the recovery act’s transportation provisions, it is necessary to sidestep the political rhetoric about “outlays” and jobs created vs. saved.  The simple facts from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are that as of February 17:  

  • $16.84 billion in recovery act highway funds are under construction;
  • $8.46 billion in highway funds have been committed for specific projects;
  • $7.24 billion in recovery act public transportation funds have been awarded; and
  • $1.07 billion in public transportation funds are pending award.

As such, almost 63 percent of the act’s highway funds and 86 percent of the public transportation funds are currently generating economic activity and supporting employment.  Once the pending funds are awarded, both categories of funding will have deployed nearly 100 percent of their resources to support critical transportation improvements that boost the U.S. economy.      

That this work is underway and ahead of the forecast schedule is undeniable.  It is equally obvious that American workers are being employed to build these projects.  Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the recovery act’s transportation investments are fulfilling their intended goal.

While the success of the transportation recovery funds is a clear success story, failure to promptly continue progress in addressing the U.S. infrastructure deficit jeopardizes these gains.  These resources were never intended to substitute for the long-term transportation solution our economy requires.  Passing a multi-year reauthorization bill with robust highway and public transportation investment is one of the best steps Congress can take to provide lasting economic benefits and contribute to long-term job creation.  

Pending congressional action on a multi-month extension that stabilizes the Highway Trust Fund would provide Congress and the Obama Administration the time necessary to develop a critical multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.