Sorry, Eminem: Mass transit creates jobs, not Detroit
Chrysler’s Super Bowl spot may feature Eminem looking all tough, but here’s one way he’s helping the terrorists win: Compared to mass transit, cars suck at creating jobs. A new report analyzing stimulus spending shows that spending on public transportation and road maintenance generated 70 percent more jobs per dollar than spending on new bridges and roads.
Job killer? As if: Conservabots would like you to believe that emissions restrictions, high-speed rail projects, bike lanes and other good ideas will fire you, steal your stapler, and relocate you to the basement. We recognize that sometimes it feels like our creaking governmental apparatus can’t afford to take the long view, but in many cases — and this is one of them — the green option is also the right choice for the economy.
So much for federalism: Writing in the Daily Beast, David Graham argued that allowing states to spend their stimulus money on highways meant allowing them to cheat themselves out of jobs:
It’s not enough just to inject money into infrastructure, because not all transportation funding is created equal-or at least, it doesn’t create jobs at an equal rate. As any infrastructure policy wonk can tell you, money spent on fixing up existing systems or building mass transit delivers more jobs, and faster, than building new highways. With their wallets bulging with their federal allowance, the states were allowed to spend $26.6 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money however they saw fit.
… The result of the indiscriminate spending? States missed out on potentially thousands of new jobs-and bridges, roads, and overpasses around the country are still crumbling. Meanwhile, the states that did put dollars toward public transportation were richly rewarded: Each dollar used on transit was 75 percent more effective at putting people to work than a dollar used for highway work.
Win-winning the future: As Sarah Goodyear wrote of bike infrastructure, public transportation creates jobs and people want this stuff. Improving mass transit allows people to avoid soul-sucking car commutes and save money on gas.