Job creation driving highway bills in Congress

JOAN LOWY Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congressional leaders are pitching expensive transportation bills as job generators. But do they really create more jobs?

The answer from a lot of economists is not really.

The effect of the bills would be to shift spending that was creating jobs elsewhere in the economy to transportation, where the money can create a different set of jobs, but not necessarily an increase in the overall number.

Alice Rivlin, a former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton, says money spent on transportation infrastructure should be viewed as investments in future productivity growth. She said it will also create jobs, but not necessarily more jobs than the same money spent in other ways.

But that hasn't diminished the job claims being made in Congress.