Evaluating the Impact of Local Expenditures on State and Regional Transportation Facilities

Principal Investigator(s):

Zhirong Zhao, Former U of M Faculty, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project summary:

The transportation system in this country is funded through the joint efforts of federal, state, and local government. As federal and state transportation trust funds (funded mainly through gas taxes) failed to catch up with the demand of vehicle travel in recent years, more pressure may have been placed on local governments to support the roadway system with a variety of local sources, including property tax, special assessments, transportation-purpose local sales tax, and other general or dedicated local revenue sources. Local funding is used, not only to support the local roadway system, but also to supplement roads or streets that may serve partial regional benefits. This includes some state trunk highways, some county roads in the County State-Aid Highway System (CSAH), and some city streets in the Municipal State-Aid Street System (MSAS). To the extent that local efforts are used to partially support regional benefits, it is important to examine the state-local share of fiscal responsibilities. No study, however, has been conducted to evaluate the impact of local expenditures on state and regional transportation facilities. This project aims to address the research need about the impact of local expenditures on state and regional transportation facilities in Minnesota. In particular, the project is: 1) analyzing how state, regional, and local transportation funding has changed over time; 2) identifying the trends of transportation grants and potential consequences on local transportation efforts; 3) estimating the amount of local funding that is spent on non-local systems; and 4) identifying the implications and long-term impacts of these funding trends.

Project details: