Gary Toth, Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives at PPS, has recently authored a new article for Smart Growth America and T4 America titled, “Why Fast Track ‘Fix it First’ Projects are a Better Stimulus.”
Gary has been reviewing State DOT spending proposals for Stimulus funding and has found many proposals for capacity increases and major road rebuilding that would perpetuate our existing transportation problems. In this article he further challenges this approach to stimulus spending arguing that these types of spending proposals will not create jobs and stimulate local economies as effectively as focusing on fixing infrastructure that is currently broken and awaiting repairs.
Fast Track Fix it First projects create more jobs, faster; they are also more labor intensive than other projects, use man power that can be quickly trained, and can be easily staffed by state employees. With Fast Track Fix it First projects, more money enters the economy faster because funds are not held up in plan creation, or spent on buying land or expensive equipment. Almost all preservation and short-term resurfacing can be completed in a season, whereas other highway funds spend out slowly with typically 27% of a project completed in the first year. With Fix it First projects, money gets pumped into local economies faster and is spread across the state more evenly so that construction investments are shared across the state, rather than being concentrated on a few large projects.