Western states' transportation spending reveals their priorities
by Brendon Bosworth
With President Obama authorizing $105 billion for transportation spending this July, you might wonder: Just how does that federal dough get spent? Turns out about 80 percent is funneled into highways. Given the West's size and far-apart cities, you might also expect this road-centricity to be more pronounced here, with spending on public transit and pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure below the national average. That's not the case, but the differences in the spending of state and federal transport dollars between Western states do say quite a bit about their priorities.
21: Average percent of transportation budget that Western states spend on transit projects; the national average is 20 percent.
3: Percent of transportation dollars Wyoming plans for transit projects between 2011 and 2014.
44: Percent of transportation money Colorado plans to use for transit projects, including rail facilities for the Denver Metro area, between 2008 and 2013.
4: Percent below the national average that Western states spend on bridge and road maintenance.
2.1: The average percent of transportation dollars Western states put toward bicycle and pedestrian projects; the national average is 2 percent.
5: Percent of Oregon's planned transportation-fund spending designated for bicycle and pedestrian projects between 2010 and 2013.
1: Percent of Utah's planned spending that is for bicycle and pedestrian projects between 2011 and 2014.
5.6: Linear miles of bike lanes, multi-use paths and single bike routes per square mile of city surface in San Francisco, Calif. -- 6th safest out of 51 cities to ride a bike in.
1.2: Linear miles of bike facilities per square mile of city surface in Las Vegas, Nev. -- 46th safest out of 51 cities to ride a bike in.
Sources: Tri-state Transportation Campaign: Tracking State Transportation Dollars, Analysis of Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs; Alliance for Biking and Walking 2012 Benchmarking Report.© High Country News