About the data setThe Associated Press and the Associated Press Media Editors association are beginning a year-long collaborative project about infrastructure needs throughout the country. The first of those stories focuses on highway funding. Although total state spending on highways, roads and bridges rose by more than the rate of inflation from 2003-2013, that spending arc slowed during the past five years. And the amount of highway funding available to states from the federal Highway Trust Fund declined from 2008-2013. As federal funding has become less certain, the need for repairs and improvements has mounted, and governors and state legislators across the country have increasingly been considering their own proposals for generating more highway funding.
The included spreadsheets provide state-by-state comparisons of total highway spending and of federal funding, in both actual and inflation-adjusted dollars. The spreadsheets also include per capita figures, which allow comparisons of spending to neighboring or similarly sized states.
Included spreadsheetsThe AP is providing two spreadsheets that offer opportunities for members to localize the data for their targeted audiences. Each spreadsheet has three pages of data. They cover the years 2003-2013, the latest year for which data was available from the Federal Highway Administration.
Infrastructure-Highway Funding-Total State and Federal.xlsx - Total state spending on highways. This includes state and federal dollars spent by states through their highway programs, which can include construction and maintenance, highway safety and law enforcement efforts, bond payments and administrative costs. The first page shows actual dollars spent for each year. The second page shows per capita spending for the selected years of 2003, 2008 and 2013. The third page shows annual spending adjusted for inflation, with prior years' figures put in 2013 dollars.
Infrastructure-Highway Funding-Federal Only.xlsx - Amount of highway funding available to states from the Federal Highway Trust Fund. This focuses on the highway account in the trust fund, not the transit account. The first page shows the amount available to states annually in actual dollars. The second page shows per capita funding for the selected years of 2003, 2008 and 2013. The third page shows the annual amounts of available funding adjusted for inflation, with the prior years' figures put in 2013 dollars. This spreadsheet shows that highway funds available from the federal government have declined on an inflation-adjusted basis for almost every state during the past five years.
Download the data files: highway_funding.zip
IMPORTANT notes about the data set
- Figures for the spreadsheet on total state spending come from the Federal Highway Administration's annual highway statistics, Table SF-2, entitled "State Disbursements for Highways." The figures are as submitted by states, which may report spending either on fiscal or calendar years. The Federal Highway Administration did not receive data from some states in certain years, so it used data from a previous year for those states. The 2013 figures were provided at the request of the AP and might not yet be posted on the agency's website.
- Figures for the spreadsheet on federal funding come from the Federal Highway Administration's annual highway statistics, Table FE-221, entitled "Comparison of Federal Highway Trust Fund Account Receipts Attributable to the States and Federal-Aid Apportionments and Allocations from the Highway Account." They show the total amount of federal highway money made available from the trust fund to each state. The actual amount spent by each state could be less.
- For both spreadsheets, the pages showing annual spending or funding figures are in "thousands of dollars," because that is the way the Federal Highway Administration reports them. So, for example, what is shown on the spreadsheet as $757,143 actually would be $757 million. The figures on the per capita pages are in regular dollars.
- Population figures from 2013 come from the U.S. Census Bureau's "annual estimates of the resident population" for April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2014. Population figures from 2003 and 2008 come from the U.S. Census Bureau's "intercensal estimates of the resident population" for April 1, 2000, to July 1, 2010.
- Inflation was calculated using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Whether highway spending is available at a more local level varies by state, so there is no uniform guidance on how to obtain that. Some state transportation departments may be able to provide figures on a regional or district basis, whereas others may not track spending in that way. This provides the initial information needed to start reporting state-specific sidebars to move alongside the national story.