By Charles Pekow
Given the tenor of the times, the bicycle program-killing surface transportation bill in the House is officially called the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012. Yes, every bill it seems these days is touted primarily for its job-creating capacity. But if Congress wants to create jobs with its transportation bill, it might want to consider a new report from the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The report says that Transportation Enhancements projects create more jobs than any other category of road work, at least in the short term.
The report, Mining Recovery Act Data for Opportunities to Improve the State of Practice for Overall Economic Impact Analysis of Transportation Investments, says that “Transportation Enhancements and New Construction categories producing the most direct jobs…”
Enhancements projects, such as building bike trails, creating transportation museums, landscaping, highway beautification, safety education and so forth, spend more money than average on labor than large construction projects that require spending a higher percentage of funding on materials and equipment, such as building bridges and tunnels.
Enhancement projects created an average of 17 jobs per million dollars spent, compared with only 10.5 per million dollars overall in transportation infrastructure projects.
And while Enhancements projects got only four percent of expenditures, they created seven percent of the jobs.
AASHTO looked at nationwide data, including 15 Enhancements projects in Idaho and 25 in Utah.
So hear that, Congress if you really want to create jobs!