Study: “Job Sprawl” Still Subsidized Despite Four States’ Modest Reforms

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Four states’ efforts to curb “job sprawl” by altering economic development subsidies have had little effect on transit ridership, land use patterns or site location decisions, according to a report released today by Good Jobs First.

Attempts by officials in California, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey to break down “policy silos” and make job subsidies location-efficient have failed. Some of the policies were weak to begin with; others got watered down or ignored, and one got rapidly deregulated.

These are the key findings of Breaking Down Silos Between Economic Development and Public Transportation: An Evaluation of Four States’ Modest Efforts In Making Job Subsidies Location-Efficient,a study published today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC. In its review of the four states’ location efficiency policies, the report recommends restricting economic development business subsidies to transit corridors. Good Jobs First further recommends establishing clear program goals, requiring regular evaluation of location efficiency policies, and requiring subsidized companies to participate in transportation demand management programs. The full report is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org.

“When states fail to align economic development subsidies with public transit investments, the result is state-sponsored job sprawl,” said Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy. “Making more jobs transit-accessible is the most powerful way to give carless workers more job opportunity and all workers a healthier commuting choice.”

Founded in 1998, Good Jobs First is a non-profit, non-partisan research center promoting accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families.  Headquartered in Washington DC, it has a project office in New York.

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