Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Federal Transportation Bill

More Proof That L.A. Isn’t Getting Its Fair Share of Stimulus and Other Federal Funds

The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report
this week with some dire conclusions for the nation's cities: Even the
payroll growth that many prognosticators anticipate this year won't
make a dent in double-digit urban unemployment. Half of the 363 biggest
metro areas won't return to their pre-recession jobs levels until 2013
or beyond.

economies_cities.png(Chart: US Conf. of Mayors)

this despite the fact that those 363 cities accounted for 90 percent of
the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) last year and 86 percent of all

Looking at the chart at right, the weight of urban
contributions is even clearer: the most economically vibrant U.S. city,
New York, had a higher productivity rate in 2008 than all but 10
foreign nations.

Going further down this list (to rankings not pictured at right), the transportation contrasts become clearer.

The United Arab Emirates, where Dubai just opened a $7 billion subway line, has a lower GDP than Miami, where transit cuts are a fact of life. Singapore, which boasts a vast rail network, has a lower GDP than Detroit, the only major U.S. city without rapid transit.

as diverting as it may be to compare American cities to their
international counterparts, the domestic struggle for better urban
transportation planning has less to do with overseas competition and
more to do with entrenched bureaucracy.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the mayors' group today that he understands the complaints from metro areas that federal stimulus money was siphoned off by state-level politicking and failed to reach cities in sufficient proportions.

wanted the money out the door within 120 days," LaHood said. "The only
way you can do that is through these relationships we have with the
[state DOTs]."

To better meet urban needs in a jobs bill that
"will be structured pretty much the same way the current one is,"
LaHood added, he is pressing
for a larger infusion for TIGER, the stimulus' merit-based grant
program where metro areas can apply directly for federal transport aid.

the one way that cities can have direct access to the money without
going through anyone else," he explained to the mayors.

the heartening prospects of extra TIGER money may not salve the
transportation funding gaps developing in many large cities. The
mayors' group reported that of the 85 biggest metro areas, 35 are
dealing with double-digit unemployment and getting proportionately less
transportation aid from the state DOT than they contribute to the state

Among those cities getting super-shortchanged: Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Chicago -- and Portland.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Metro and Caltrans Expect to Complete Torrance 405 Freeway Widening Project Next Month

Metro and Caltrans are adding nearly two miles of new auxiliary freeway lanes, a new on-ramp, and widening adjacent streets including Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street

July 19, 2024

Strategizing About Reduced Funding in the Active Transportation Program

Funding for Cycle 7 of the Active Transportation Program is less than $200 million, and already there have been requests for fifteen times the amount of available funding

July 18, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Hollywood Boulevard Bike Lanes are Open

The Hollywood bike lanes project, already very much in use, is also already being criticized by commenters at Nextdoor and other social media

July 17, 2024
See all posts