News Column

Transportation Investments in Response to Economic Downturns: Lessons for the Future from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Experience

February 17, 2014

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 -- The National Academies' Transportation Research Board issued the following news:

TRB is sponsoring a gathering of transportation and fiscal policy experts to discuss a new TRB report, Transportation Investments in Response to Economic Downturns (

The event will take place on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, from 1 to 3 p.m. in Room 120 of the National Academy of Sciences building, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. There is no charge for this event, but those interested in attending must RSVP as seating is limited. Please contact Timothy Devlin at to confirm your space at the gathering.

The committee that authored the report finds that investing in transportation infrastructure can be an appropriate part of an economic stimulus program. The committee recommends programmatic changes to enhance the role of transportation infrastructure investments in future economic downturns and periods of prolonged high unemployment. While the committee has put forth a thoughtful argument about when and why transportation infrastructure investment should be part of an economic stimulus program, it also appreciates the debate and uncertainty about the benefits of such investments.

The goal of the discussion is to stimulate debate on this important issue in order to help ensure that spending on transportation infrastructure in any future stimulus is effective and fruitful. Those expected to participate in the event will include high-level officials representing transportation organizations; and federal, state, and local agencies and elected officials.

The committee chair, Therese McGuire of the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and committee members, Andrew Haughwout of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Ronald Epstein of the New York State Department of Transportation, will present a brief overview of the report. After hearing from two discussants, the floor will be open for discussion among invited guests.

The discussion will be audio cast for those not able to attend in person. Opportunities for virtual participants to provide questions or comments will be provided. Information on the audio webcast will be available on the National Academies homepage ( on the morning of February 18.

A press release, which provides a brief summary of the report (, as well as a link to the full report, is available online.

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Source: Targeted News Service

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