Some States Use More Highway Funding for Transit Than Others

Tran­sit­Cen­ter shares news of a recent study by the Nation­al Coop­er­a­tive Research Pro­gram digs into how states spend their fed­er­al trans­porta­tion mon­ey, that less than 4 per­cent of eli­gi­ble fed­er­al high­way fund­ing is spent on tran­sit projects—a deci­sion known as “flex­ing.”

“Only eight states were ‘super­flex­ers,’ trans­fer­ring more than 4% of their fed­er­al high­way fund­ing to FTA: Neva­da, Wash­ing­ton, Ari­zona, New York, Ver­mont, Ore­gon, Mary­land, Cal­i­for­nia, and New Jer­sey,” explains the of the study’s find­ings. Accord­ing to the study, the Mit­i­ga­tion and Air Qual­i­ty (CMAQ) and the Sur­face Trans­porta­tion Block Grant (STBG) pro­grams were the pro­grams most like­ly to be flexed for tran­sit projects.

The report also helps under­stand why cer­tain states and met­ro­pol­i­tan (MPOs) to flex their fed­er­al mon­ey to tran­sit projects: it all comes down to “state and region­al .” Accord­ing to the arti­cle’s expla­na­tion of the study’s con­clu­sion, “Where state and local deci­sion­mak­ers val­ue tran­sit, states use more of their high­way dol­lars for pub­lic trans­porta­tion.”

The arti­cle digs into more detail on the exam­ples of Ver­mont and New Jer­sey, the for­mer as an exam­ple of a most­ly rur­al state, the lat­ter as most­ly urban. At the region­al lev­el, the arti­cle iden­ti­fies lead­er­ship from MPOs in Cal­i­for­nia and New York.

A May 2022 arti­cle by Tran­sit­Cen­ter details how states and MPOs can flex high­way dol­lars for tran­sit projects.

The “Fed­er­al Fund­ing Flex­i­bil­i­ty: Use of Fed­er­al Aid High­way Fund Trans­fers by State DOTs” report by the Nation­al Coop­er­a­tive High­way Research Pro­gram was pub­lished in June 2022 by the Nation­al Acad­e­mies of , Engi­neer­ing, and Med­i­cine.

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