Equity Concerns for the Distribution of Funding in the CAMPO Region

We conducted a brief analysis to examine the distribution of funding in the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (CAMPO) proposed 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program. First, total funding for each project was aggregated by county. These sums were then divided by the most recent available population counts based on Census data to calculate per capita funding for each respective county. The results are shown in the table below.

Comments are due today, June 1, to comments@campotexas.org. Please take five minutes to put your support for more equitable regional transportation planning on the record.

CAMPO Proposed TIP Funding per Capita – by county

CountyPer Capita $

We also chose to examine employment totals in addition to population. Using the Census’ On The Map web platform, job counts were combined with population counts by county to calculate a hypothetical proportional funding allocation by county based on population and job totals.

CAMPO Proposed TIP Funding per (population + jobs) – by county

CountyProposed spending per (population + jobs)

We then compared the actual proposed total funding amounts per county to a theoretical proportional total – where each county’s funding share was equal to their share of the region’s population and jobs. This analysis was performed on the project list of roadway projects, and again combining roadway projects with public transit projects.

CountyDifference in Proposed TIP compared to Proportional

From a purely per capita analysis, funding is allocated at the highest rates to Hays County. When job totals are considered in conjunction with population totals, the order of funding advantage remains the same, but the stark difference in funding between Travis County and Williamson, Hays, and Bastrop Counties becomes even more pronounced.

Both sets of calculations result in higher per capita spending for Hays County, followed by Bastrop and Williamson, then Travis County, and finally with Burnet and Caldwell seeing the lowest rates of per capita funding. The resulting differences between perfectly proportional funding allocation and the actual proposed funding disbursement are positive values in the case of Bastrop, Hays, and Williamson counties, and negative values for Burnet, Caldwell, and Travis.

While some discrepancy between exactly equal proportional funding amounts is to be expected, the differences range from Williamson County receiving $131 million more than it theoretically “deserves” and Travis County receiving $140 million less than it theoretically “deserves.”

We believe a more equitable distribution of TIP funding would better serve the economic, community, and transportation interests of all the people of the Austin region.

CAMPO is accepting public comments on the proposed project deferments until Monday, June 1 at comments@campotexas.org. The Policy Board will meet again on Monday, June 8 at 2 p.m. to make a final decision about which projects to defer, when members of the public will have an opportunity to call in and make public comments. CAMPO hosts live streams on their website and their facebook page.

We strongly encourage you to send in your your wants, desires, vision, and needs for the regional transportation system by emailing CAMPO at comments@campotexas.org today, and asking your friends, family, and colleagues to do the same, by the end of the day Monday, June 1.

Follow Farm&City on Twitter and Facebook for more information about how these projects might affect the CAMPO service area.

You can support our work to empower all Texans to meaningfully engage in equitable, sustainable regional planning by donating to our summer fundraising campaign, which is partially funding our team of summer interns, who are working hard right now to provide context and analysis to aid in this decision on which project to defer.