Abstract for: Intergovernmental Dynamics of Transportation Planning: Why Some Towns Attract More Federal Funding Than Others?

This paper explores the dynamics of intergovernmental relations in the distribution of transportation funds from the viewpoint of local governments. We address the following questions: (1) why some towns attract more federal and state funding than other towns? (2) Are there some balancing and reinforcing feedback loops that influence some towns attracting more funds than others? We addressed these research questions through developing a stakeholder informed system dynamic model with an explicit focus on the intergovernmental influence (exogenous) and local town level technical and financial capacity (endogenous) dynamics. The model is calibrated to two local towns in Vermont. The model simulates two balancing loops (BL) and three reinforcing loops (RL). BL1: As a jurisdiction receives more transportation funds, they are able to meet more of their transportation needs and require fewer funds in the short term. BL2: With more development, there is less capacity to continue to build, so less money is allocated for new development. Three RLs include more money received leading towards more experience and thus greater technical capacity, more technical capacity directing a jurisdiction to more support from the MPO, and more transportation needs requires more transportation funds which ultimately gives a jurisdiction more financial capacity.