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May 16, 2011

U.S. Mayors Want More Funding Directed to Metropolitan Regions

While the geography of metropolitan life best reflects economic life, most federal investment decisions are made usually the delivery systems of states, which sometimes have a powerful incentive to disburse investments widely rather than pursue a metro-oriented focus. GO TO 2040 recommends taking a more "regional approach" to federal and state investments. Our mayors tend to agree, especially when it comes to transportation funding. In a new survey of 176 mayors, more than 90 percent urge reforms that would bring more funding directly to metropolitan areas, which serve as centers for the nation's economic growth and are home to 86 percent of U.S. employment. Furthermore, three quarters of the mayors agree that expanded flexibility of federal financing tools such as TIFIA (which was highlighted in an earlier policy update about the America Fast Forward initiative), would help deliver projects more efficiently and effectively.

GO TO 2040 strongly supports strategic investment in transportation infrastructure, whose economic benefits have often been quantified. Long-term economic productivity increases further when transportation investments are more targeted. CMAP's analysis of GO TO 2040's prioritized major capital projects estimates a $13.3 billion increase in long-term economic activity from a public sector expenditure of $10.5 billion. CMAP urges the federal government, the State of Illinois, transit agencies, and local governments to develop innovative financing to support a world-class transportation system for this new century.