Offering insight into how stimulus grant-funded projects advance transportation and various regional goals, the Collins Center for Public Policy's 19-page special report, Stimulus Spending on Infrastructure in Florida, takes a close look at the more than $1 billion spent on transportation projects and the lessons learned.
As the center's study focuses on an independent analysis of stimulus investments on transportation projects in Florida's major metropolitan regions -- Tampa/St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville -- author Robert Dunphy examines the justification for such investments.
"We found that in Florida's major regions, much of the [stimulus] funding was able to be spent on major projects," says Dunphy, senior resident fellow in transportation and infrastructure at the Urban Land Institute. "As a result, the economic impact of the stimulus projects will help reduce the frustration and cost of time wasted in traffic to individuals and the economy, as well as help accommodate growth in Florida's population and jobs expected in the future."
Florida's Department of Transportation chose to spend the money on projects that had been earlier deferred by the state, provided congestion relief, had the potential to generate revenues and jobs and were geographically balanced. Such projects in the Tampa Bay region include the toll road connection between Interstate 4 and the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway in Tampa, the reconstruction of U.S. 19 in Pinellas County, the widening of U.S. 301 in Sarasota and the widening of U.S. 41 in Pasco County.
In the Tampa Bay region, according to Dunphy, the study found that the estimated $271 million in stimulus spending should reduce the cost of current and expected traffic congestion due to the additional 3 million people and 1.5 million jobs anticipated in the region.
"The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) estimated that the investment in the transportation plan would add about $4.5 billion to the economy," says Dunphy. "Transportation and housing costs in the Tampa Bay region are among the highest in the nation and wiser long range strategies can make it better."
Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Robert Dunphy, Urban Land Institute