Nate Berg recently wrote at The Atlantic Cities: “Trying to define exactly where every transportation dollar in the U.S. goes is probably more effort than it’s worth. Understanding generally where that money goes, however, is both doable and informative.”
His post links to the new report Tracking State Transportation Dollars by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which has broadened its emphasis beyond NY, NJ, and CT to look at transportation priorities in each of the 50 states.
The focus is on how states use federal money:
This project examines each state’s use of federal transportation dollars as reported to the federal government through the state’s statewide transportation improvement program [STIP]. State and local contributions to the federal funds are included in the state analysis if the state included this information in its statewide transportation improvement program.
And a bit more on the methodology:
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign conducted a line-by-line analysis of each state’s statewide transportation improvement program [STIP] for the most recent years available at the time of the analysis. TSTC categorized each project listed in the statewide transportation improvement program in one of the following nine categories: new road capacity, bridge capacity expansion, road minor widening/maintenance, bridge maintenance/replacement, bicycle/pedestrian, safety, road/bridge projects with bicycle/pedestrian components, transit, and other.
The following are included in the analysis:
- GARVEE-funded projects
- ARRA-funded projects
- State and local spending on projects not receiving federal funds (if included in document)
- Advance Construction
- Advance Construction Conversion
The following are not included:
- Debt service payments
- Indian Reservation Roads and Bridges
- Federal Lands Highways
So this is an inexact science, but it seems that the data gives a valid snapshot of that state’s priorities.
The landing page for the study provides a variety of filters that can be applied to a map of the U.S. You can also choose individual states from the menu.
Here’s the breakdown in spending in Georgia for those nine categories:
Bridge Maintenance/Replacement: 10%
Road/Bridge Project with Bike/Ped Components: 1%
Bridge Capacity Expansion: 1%
Road Maintenance/Minor Widening: 30%
New Road Capacity: 28%
But what’s the ideal breakdown? What should we compare Georgia to?
Since so much of the T-SPLOST debate has dealt with transit, I took a quick look at the percentage being spent on transit projects in a handful of relatively big states with populations largely concentrated in a single metro area.
Transit spending as reported in each state’s STIP:
It seems clear that Georgia should make transit a higher priority.