This is another revealing chart from the recent Pew Charitable Trust report on Intergovernmental Transportation Funding Challenges. This one shows the flow of money from Federal to state to local government bodies, and how they are distributed to create the road (and transit) network that we use every day.
My take on this is that state DOTs play a huge role. Note that this does not distinguish between road and transit dollars, which is something we’ll get to later this week.
It’s amazing how we built great cities long before this complexity existed. We’d plat out a grid, and let things happen naturally and incrementally. If a place had value, the streets would be improved.
We’d get much better results if our entire transportation planning and funding regime imploded and we started from scratch.