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Friday, January 14, 2011

Bike and Pedestrian Projects Create More Jobs Per Dollar

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 10:29 AM

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You know who I like? Ray LaHood, the transportation secretary for Obama. You know why I like him? Because he has a really good blog.

Yesterday on his bloggie blog, LaHood spelled out a new study of Baltimore transportation projects that shows bike and pedestrian projects create more jobs than traditional road projects per dollar spent. Here's the money line from the report: "We find that pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million of spending while road infrastructure projects create approximately 7 jobs per $1 million of expenditures."

Why would bike projects create more jobs than highway-building? The Baltimore study says the answer lies in the ratios of labor costs to material costs and engineering costs to construction costs.
1. Bike and pedestrian projects are labor intensive, but the materials are cheaper than those required to build roads. So more money goes to workers rather than to buying materials.
2. Projects like striping bike lanes and pouring sidewalks have a higher engineering cost and lower construction costs, so they're cheaper to physically build but more money goes to sustain engineering jobs.

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