Posted on June 13, 2012 12:44 PM
Use of Economic Performance Measures in Transportation Funding
On June 8, 2012, the Eno Center for Transportation released “Better Use of Public Dollars: Economic Impact Analysis in Transportation Decision Making.” This paper reviews the use of economic impact analysis in allocating transportation funds at both the federal and state levels. Federal funds have traditionally been distributed to the states by formula, which are generally based on engineering measures such as pavement condition or length of roadway. More recently, discretionary programs such as transit New Starts, Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), and Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) have begun to incorporate economic criteria such as number of jobs created or growth in overall economic activity into the project selection process. The report also presents case studies of four states -- Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, and North Carolina -- that have implemented economic performance measures into transportation funding processes.
The CMAP Board and MPO Policy Committee both support the use of data-driven performance measures in the allocation of transportation funds. CMAP released an Issue Brief on performance-based evaluation criteria in early 2012, and, with support from the Federal Highway Administration’s Volpe Center, will host a peer exchange workshop on the topic next month. The workshop will include state department of transportation and metropolitan planning organization officials from across the country. Language on performance measures has also been included in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the 1.5-year transportation reauthorization bill passed by the U.S. Senate in March 2012.