American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
This national stimulus package was enacted by the 111th Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009, to provide a stimulus to the U.S. economy in the wake of the current economic downturn. ARRA provides roughly $50 billion for transportation funding, with the ability to flex $26.6 billion to address a variety of pressing transportation needs including road and bridge repairs and investments in public transportation.
Details of the ARRA bill and its transportation elements may be found at:
- National Recovery Accountability and Transparency website: http://www.recovery.gov/
- Full text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h1enr.pdf
- Federal Highway Administration ARRA site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/economicrecovery/
- Federal Transit Administration ARRA site: http://www.fta.dot.gov/index_9440.html
- Links to individual State recovery sites: http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/state-local-tribal-and-territorial-resources&mode=map
We are assisting Smart Growth America (SGA) – a coalition of national, state and local organizations working to improve the ways towns, cities, and metropolitan areas are planned and built – to work with states and cities to help shape how they spend their stimulus funds. The coalition includes many highly recognized national organizations advocating on behalf of historic preservation, the environment, farmland and open space preservation, neighborhood revitalization, and sustainable growth and transportation. http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/
To affect state transportation spending decisions, SGA and its partner organizations advocate a greater understanding of how our country’s transportation network supports smart growth or sprawling development, and the long-term economic, environmental, and societal impacts of transportation policy decisions. State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and local communities all have a say in how and where federal transportation dollars are spent within their jurisdictions. Charlier Associates is assisting SGA and partners to create a closer alignment between transportation investments and an array of issues high on the public agenda — climate change, energy security, economic competitiveness, housing and community development — as a way to enhance sustainability and quality of life for all.
Key elements of our ongoing work for this effort include:
- Directly assisting seven partner states to launch and carry out a six-month campaign to shape stimulus spending and state DOT budget decisions. CAI staff worked directly with state partners to review draft DOT project lists and assemble good candidate projects to advocate for receiving ARRA funds.
- Contributing to the development of the report Spending the Stimulus: How Your State Can Put Thousands Back to Work by Jumpstarting a 21st Century Transportation System. This document outlines 20 project types in five main categories, with case study examples, that illustrate the breadth of investments that a state can make with the STP funds it receives through ARRA. The full report may be downloaded from http://stimulus.smartgrowthamerica.org/20ways
- Assisting the National Complete Streets Organization in identifying candidate complete street projects and those receiving funding under ARRA. http://www.completestreets.org/
- Tracking 1511 certified projects. Under ARRA, State and local governments and agencies must complete several certifications. Section 1511 attests to accountability and transparency through the proper vetting of projects, and the certification must be made and posted before funds may be received. A complete listing of project certifications to date, by state, can be found at http://testimony.ost.dot.gov/ARRAcerts/
- Conducting a line item analysis of 1511 certified projects for 37 states. Included research into individual projects to classify spending through June 15, 2009, according to five general categories of:
1. Roadway system preservation;
2. Roadway new capacity;
3. Non-motorized and related;
4. Transit and related; and
The full report summarizing our work, The States and The Stimulus: What their Transportation Spending Tells Us about Accountability (available below), was released on June 29th.