Measuring Transportation Investments: The Road to Results

May 10, 2011

In fiscal year 2010, states spent an estimated $131 billion in taxpayer dollars on transportation. Yet many policy makers cannot answer critical questions about what results this investment is generating. Just 13 states—California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington—have goals, performance measures and data needed to help decision makers ensure their surface transportation systems are advancing economic growth, mobility, access and other key policy outcomes. Nineteen states trail behind, lacking a full array of tools needed to account for the return on investment in their roads, highways, bridges and bus and rail systems. The remaining 18 states and Washington, DC, all someplace in between, with mixed results. Three of those—Colorado, Michigan and Pennsylvania—just missed earning the top distinction.

These are the key findings of a study by the Pew Center on the States and the Rockefeller Foundation, based on a review of publicly available documents and interviews with scores of state and federal officials and experts in the field.

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