Although spending on the construction and upgrading of corrections facilities has significantly dropped, other public infrastructure and facility projects are contributing to an overall investment increase for state and local governments.
That is one of the findings in just-released Census Bureau numbers showing that state and local government construction spending will most likely total $275 billion this year.
That figure is $15 billion more than last year’s total, and is attributable to increased spending on schools, roads, airport, and mass transit projects.
According to the Census report, some $94 billion will be spent this year at the state and local level on highway and street projects, followed by $45 billion on school facility projects.
Air transportation projects are expected to be worth $14 billion this year, up from $9.8 billion in 2011; while mass transit project spending is now at $8 billion, up from $5.9 billion in 2011.
The only public facility spending decrease is coming in corrections projects, amounting to $4 billion this year, substantially less than the more than $8 billion spent on such projects a decade ago.
The reasons for that drop are many, according to Governing Magazine, which notes that incarceration rates and the prison population has “started to decline after decades of steep growth.”
The publication adds: “It’s also likely that privatization of prisons has enabled states to avoid building or upgrading some correctional facilities.”
Altogether, state and local government spending, according to the Census numbers, have been steadily increasing since 2014, when the total projects came in at $250 billion.
By Garry Boulard
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