JOB IMPACTS OF TRANSIT, INFRASTRUCTURE, CLEAN ENERGY: The Economic Benefits of Public Infrastructure Spending in Canada released by the Broadbent Institute on September 15 includes transit in its definition of public infrastructure – along with highways, and water supply and wastewater treatment facilities. It concludes that a public infrastructure program can help an investment-led economic expansion. Employment impacts vary over short-term and long-term, but the report estimates a short-term job multiplier effect of 9.4 jobs generated per million dollars spent. The study concludes that “while employment gains may be limited, businesses are more productive and competitive, and workers earn higher real wages: up 0.4–0.6 per cent a year on average”.
The Benefits of Transit in the United States: A Review and Analysis of Benefit-Cost Studies concludes that jobs and economic stimulus are among the largest benefit categories from transit investments, not only in urbanized areas but in small urban and rural areas also. The report recommends that greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, and other important but undervalued transit benefits categories should be considered in future studies.
A brief report released in August by the Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy at the University of California, Berkeley estimates the jobs created from California’s renewable energy investments from 2003 through 2014, and forecasts job creation between 2015 and 2030 as the state works to meet its 50% renewables portfolio standard (RPS). Job Impacts of California’s Existing and Proposed Renewables Portfolio Standard includes jobs related to the construction, but not maintenance and operation, of renewable energy facilities.
In June, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) jointly released a 2-volume report which examines the policy frameworks needed for development of large-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Global Green Growth: Clean Energy Industrial Investment and Expanding Job Opportunities (Volume 1 ) presents Overall Findings. Volume 2 assesses the employment impacts of the developments in Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, and the Republic of Korea.
At the end of April, the Canadian Labour Congress posted profiles of three green economy sectors under the banner Real Alternatives for a Green Economy. The series describes new initiatives across Canada, and call for public policy initiatives to support the growth of a green economy. Regarding Energy, the CLC calls for “public investments totalling $4.65 billion need to be made to simulate the development of renewable energy sources with a priority being put on public sector owned and operated wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal power. “ Regarding transportation , they call for investment in light rail transportation, with strong domestic content rules . One example given for transit is the Ottawa Light Rail transit project; a report for that project compiles estimates of economic benefits, including job creation, for light rail projects around the world. The third segment of the series looks at Green Construction. The CLC posts follow closely the information on the website of the Green Economy Network , an alliance of Canadian labour unions, environment and social justice organizations, of which the CLC is a member.
The Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future reported to the provincial legislature on May 23, with a recommendation not to proceed with a light-rail link between Calgary and Edmonton at this time because population is not sufficient to support it. However, for future infrastructure planning, the report recommended that the government should identify a greenfield transportation/utility corridor and begin acquiring land, while at the same time developing a regulatory framework to allow the private sector to participate. See the report at http://www.assembly.ab.ca/committees/abeconomicfuture/EHS/Reports/2014/High%20Speed%20Rail%20Transit%20System%20in%20Alberta,%20Final%20Report.pdf .
Nantes was chosen for the 2013 Award on the strength of its public transport policy. It was the first city in France to successfully re-introduce electric tramways, and plans to encourage bicycle and public bus infrastructure. The Award, begun in 2010 by the European Commission, recognizes a consistent record and a commitment to future goals and ambitions for environmental improvement and sustainable development. See: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/winning-cities/2013-nantes/index.html