State and Local Transportation Spending Increased Slightly in 2012, Report Says

AASHTO Journal, 15 February 2013

Spending for transportation improvement projects by states and local governments in 2012 increased by about 1 percent over the previous year, according to data released this week by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

State DOTs and local governments spent about $117 billion on highway, bridge, transit, port, and other transportation construction projects last year, about $1 billion more than what was spent in 2011. However, recent years are lower than in 2010, when spending peaked at $129 billion, largely due to projects funded from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.

Most areas saw an increase in transportation spending throughout 2012, with one exception: highways. Highway construction spending, ARTBA reports, dropped from $47.9 billion in 2011 to $45.9 billion last year (or a 4.3 percent drop). Also of note, ARTBA found transportation construction accounted for nearly 14 percent of all U.S. construction work in 2012, which shows a drop from previous years. Transportation construction accounted for 14.6 percent in 2011 and 15 percent in 2010.

All other areas saw an increase in state and local spending in 2012, including:

  • Bridges—$28.3 billion in 2012 (versus $27.1 billion in 2011), or up 4.5 percent,
  • Ports—$1.6 billion (versus $1.5 billion in 2011), up 10 percent,
  • Railroads—$10.3 billion (versus $9.6 billion in 2011), up 7.3 percent,
  • Subway and light rail—$6.6 billion (versus $5.7 billion in 2011), up 16.7 percent,
  • Airport runways—$4.8 billion (versus $4.2 billion in 2011), up 14.1 percent.

The report is available for purchase by contacting Sarah Crane at scrane AT or by calling 202-289-4434. ​​

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