Roundtable on the Stimulus

A Roundtable Discussion on Social and Economic Impacts of Federal Economic Stimulus and Transportation Legislation Reauthorization: Identifying Research Needs

Location: Sheraton Seattle Hotel
Date: Monday July 20, 2009
Time: 10:00‐11:45am (immediately following the ADD20 Committee Meeting)

Thera Black, Chair, ADA20 (Metropolitan Policy, Planning and Processes Committee)
Marc Brenman, former‐Executive Director, Washington State Human Rights Commission
Richard Marcantonio, Managing Attorney, Public Advocates, Inc. (San Francisco)
Tom Sanchez, Chair ADD20 (Social and Economic Factors of Transportation)

“States are receiving federal funding for infrastructure projects to stimulate economic recovery. These projects were identified as those being “shovel ready”, meaning that they can commence construction immediately and provide much needed jobs and economic activity.

The White House believes that expediting this process is critical to the U.S. economy and well‐being of workers and their families. The Federal Transportation Bill will be another opportunity to make much needed infrastructure investments with stimulus effects.

One issue of concern is that in the haste to stimulate the economy, the projects being selecteddo not necessarily consider wider socio‐economic consequences and needs, including equity measures. For example, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 directed billions to transit capital (primarily road) projects, but left out critical funding needed to operate and extend transit systems upon which millions of low‐income people depend for daily mobility. Others point to stimulus funding availability for costly rail expansion projects at the expense of funds to maintain existing bus service. Has the focus on creating construction jobs job creation been at the expense of fundamental system needs and broader social objectives?

This roundtable will bring together a range of perspectives including representatives from the US DOT, state DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations and advocacy groups to discuss economic stimulus in terms of social equity, job generation, accountability, inclusiveness, and implementation. In particular, the discussion is intended to identify future research needs to evaluate these transportation investments in the larger socio‐economic context. The product of the roundtable will be a research needs statement outlining questions specific to outcomes at the metropolitan, state, and federal levels.”