Chart: U.S. spending on urban transit since the 1970s oil crisis

Summary:Funding for urban mass transportation has spiked more than 9,500 percent in recent years.

Government spending on urban mass transportation appears to rise and fall not only with the political tides, but with the average retail price of gasoline, as these two charts compiled via DataMarket show.

In other words, the combination of high gas prices and a pro-urban transit president generally leads to an increase in grants to state and local governments for urban mass transportation.

For instance, in 2005 when President Bush was in office and average retail price of gas was $2.33, the U.S. government issued $119 million in urban mass transit grants. By 2007, the average retail price of gas had increased to $3.15 and grants for urban transit had leapt to $4.2 billion.

But they really took off after 2008.

In 2012, urban mass transportation grants hit an all-time high of $11.4 billion, a 9,500 percent increase from 2005.

Chart: DataMarket

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter.

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