Transportation cuts could cost 400,000-plus jobs
by Nash Nunnery
Published: December 4,2009
Federal investments in highways and transit systems are expected to decline by over $15 billion in 2010, according to analysis of transportation spending trends conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America.
The estimated 19.3 percent drop in federal formula and stimulus funding for transportation projects next year is likely to force over 430,000 layoffs throughout the county.
The construction unemployment rate currently stands at 18.7 percent.
“Boosting transportation investments will keep thousands of construction workers employed at a time when our economy can hardly afford more layoffs,” said association CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “The success of the stimulus in saving countless construction jobs will have been in vain if its sequel is underinvestment in our roads, bridges and transit systems.”
According to the analysis, the federal government invested $78.6 billion in road and transit construction projects in 2009. That funding included $51 billion in regular federal transportation funding and $27.6 billion in stimulus funding. The stimulus funds represent 74 percent of the total amount of transportation funds included in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act earlier this year.
Next year, however, federal funding fro highway and transit construction will only total $63.4 billion, approximately $9.8 billion of which will come from the remaining stimulus transportation funds, and the rest from regular transportation funding.
A study conducted by George Mason University professor Stephen Fuller found that every investment of $1 billion in infrastructure projects creates or sustains an estimated 28,500 jobs throughout the nation’s economy. Based on that study, the $15.2-billion decline in highway and transit investments next year will result in over 430,000 layoffs.
Non-stimulus federal transportation funds are stuck at near current levels because Congress did not pass a six-year surface transportation bill to replace legislation that expired at the end of September, said Sandherr.
“Increasing transportation funding will save countless jobs and provide our economy with a foundation for long-term growth,” he said.
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