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Road Builders’ Highway Dashboard frames investment transparency

The “ARTBA Highway Dashboard: A 50-State Guide to the Benefits of Federal Investment” is a first of its kind, interactive tool providing the public and elected officials a clear look at how and where each state invests transportation project-designated tax dollars.

“This helps shift the conversation about federal highway investments from apportionment tables and obligation charts to specific outcomes and benefits,” says American Road and Transportation Builders Association President Dave Bauer. “Such transparency and accountability will help the American people better understand the value they are getting from infrastructure investments.”

Prepared by ARTBA Chief Economist Alison Premo Black and built on Federal Highway Administration Fiscal Management Information System data, the dashboard displays information on 24,000-plus projects from fiscal year 2018, during which states leveraged $31 billion in federal funds to advance $66.5 billion in highway improvements. Among FY 2018 transportation funds: 45 percent went to repair or reconstruction work on existing highways; 22 percent to added capacity; 14 percent to planning, design and construction engineering services; 4 percent to new construction; and, 2 percent or less to planning, environmental, research and administration, bike and pedestrian facilities, debt service and utilities. The Federal Highway Investment Benefits by State dashboard is posted at www.artba.org/economics.

The main dashboard’s interactive companion features State, County, Fiscal Year, Type of Work and Federal-Aid System project classification. Users can visualize how each state has deployed federal funds in a given year, observe the top projects dating to 1950, and track overall federal surface transportation outlays eclipsing $1 trillion.

INVEST ACT

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Pete DeFazio is approaching sunset of the FAST Act, funding federal highway programs through September, with “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America” (INVEST) Act. It authorizes $319 billion in highway outlays and $500 billion overall for fiscal years 2021-2025; enables completion of critical projects through long-term, sustainable funding; and, contains strong Buy America provisions and labor protections. Sponsors see the INVEST Act:

  • Tackling a massive backlog of roads, bridges, and transit systems in need of repair and replacement;
  • Building resilient infrastructure that will withstand the impacts of extreme weather;
  • Designing streets that are safer for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists;
  • Putting the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector by prioritizing and incentivizing carbon pollution reduction; investing in public transit and the national rail network; building out fueling infrastructure for low- and zero-emission vehicles; and, deploying technology and innovative materials; and,

The legislation also doubles funding for technology deployment to increase innovation, and creates a new program to fund green materials research and deploy such materials and related practices to create smarter, more efficient transportation systems. INVEST in America Act authorizes a sharp funding increase to continue current highway, bridge and transit programs in FY 2021, with wider policy implementation occurring in FY 2022.