Killing the Myth of the ‘More Shovel-Ready’ Road Stimulus, Part II

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.

Shovel_ready.jpg(Photo: DMI Blog)

Has Summers been vindicated by the data? Streetsblog Capitol Hill reported
last month that as of August 31, transit stimulus money was getting
spent at a higher rate than the $27.5 billion in highway stimulus cash.
Even when factoring in transportation projects that were out for bid
but not yet begun, state-level reports to Congress found that transit
and highways were on the same footing.

Okay … but things could have changed in September, right? The
House transportation committee released updated stimulus spending
reports yesterday, as it happens, and they show that transit stimulus
spending is still outpacing highway stimulus.

Capitol Hill’s analysis found $627.7 million in transit aid spent by
the states, or 7.5 percent of the total pot. Highway stimulus spending
totaled $1.64 billion, or 6 percent of the entire fund for roads and

We’ll continue crunching the monthly numbers as they
are released — or until Summers issues an unlikely mea culpa. In the
meantime, check out video of Rep. Pete DeFazio’s (D-OR) no-holds-barred
take on this issue after the jump.


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 $26.5 billion for highways and bridges. (Photo: DMI Blog) But transit money is getting put to use […]

CBO Echoes Obama’s Candor on the Pitfalls of ‘Shovel-Readiness’

During last month’s White House jobs summit, President Obama carved out some common ground with critics of his first stimulus law’s $47 billion in infrastructure spending — which was distributed mainly by the book through state DOTs. "The term "shovel-ready," let’s be honest here, doesn’t always live up to its billing," he acknowledged. The CBO […]

Dissenting Views on Stimulus, in Congress and on Network

The Streetsblog Network is continuing to digest the draft of stimulus legislation that came out of the House Appropriations Committee yesterday. We’re featuring a post from Design New Haven that offers a pretty tough evaluation: Despite all the evidence that transit-oriented development creates jobs by dramatically saving large numbers of people time and commuting expenses, […]

Call to Action: Win Back Stimulus Funding for Transit Service

There’s a sense of urgency on the Streetsblog Network this morning. Transportation for America, using media reports of projected cuts to transit services across the country, has put together a map that dramatizes just how painful those cuts could be: The far-reaching and broad cuts will directly affect transit employees and riders who are among […]