Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, last week said that major metropolitan areas have been shortchanged in the receipt of federal stimulus funds for transportation infrastructure administered by governors and state highway departments.
Diaz’s remarks came in conjunction with a preliminary report by the USCM on the first phase of stimulus allocations, which will be completed on June 30.
“This report indicates that the national economy will only recover when our metro areas recover,” Diaz said. “Yet in allocating stimulus transportation funds, states continue to underfund the very metros that drive the nation’s economy.”
Prepared by IHS Global Insight Inc, the report analyzes the largest single source of infrastructure spending in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — the $18.62 billion in surface transportation funds apportioned to states under program categories administered by the Federal Highway Administration.
State governments had certified surface transportation projects totaling $18.26 billion as of June 3.
The report said while the nation’s largest 85 metro areas account for 73% of the nation’s gross domestic product, they garnered only 48.3%, or $8.8 billion, of the ARRA transportation funds.
“These same metros contain 63% of the nation’s population,” the USCM said. “By these measures … metro areas received significantly less funds than they deserve given their dominant role in the national economy and in their respective state economies.”
Diaz led the recently concluded USCM’s 77th annual meeting in Rhode Island, where his term as president came to an end and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was sworn in.