One of the most frustrating and puzzling arguments against investing in transportation projects is that it doesn’t really have a positive impact on jobs and economic recovery. Here’s the latest example of how investing in infrastructure does have a positive impact.
In Washington state rural county with an unemployment rate of 13%, a contractor on a State DOT project has hired 200 workers at union-level wages, and will gradually add 100 more.
“The pontoon project is projected to pump millions of dollars into Grays Harbor County before it’s completed in June 2014.
Already, workers are renting hotel rooms and buying houses, eating at restaurants and shopping at such places as Home Depot and Safeway. Retail sales are up 25 percent from a year ago in Grays Harbor,” said LeRoy Tipton, president of the Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce.” (“Aberdeen buoyed by 520 bridge project“, Seattle Times.)
Some of that economic growth is due to other development projects in the area.
This project is funded with state gas tax increases passed in 2003 and 2005, and is part of a large project funded with state and federal funds.
The next time you hear someone claiming transportation investment doesn’t foster job creation and economic vitality, remember this project.
For every project like this one, there are probably ten or twenty more in Washington state alone that could have a similar impact if funded. Projects that upon completion would enable people and goods to move faster, safer, and cleaner.
It’s just one more reason to invest strategically in transportation projects.
Larry Ehl is the founder and publisher of Transportation Issues Daily. In the public sector, Larry was Federal Relations Manager for Washington State DOT; Chief of Staff to US Senator Slade Gorton; and was twice elected to the Edmonds School Board.