I don’t think “jobs” is a particularly strong argument for any particular infrastructure program and would rather discuss the projects on the merits. And as I’ve said before, approving or disapproving a 10-year or 20-year program based on current economic conditions is pretty shortsighted. Nevertheless, if you’re the kind of person who likes megaprojects in part because of the working-class, well-paid, union-represented jobs they produce, you should love Prop 1.
After all, a tunneling project like the deep-bore tunnel or University Link has a very large chunk of its costs going into capital equipment and world-renowned experts, and relatively small portion to guys (and gals) in hard hats. The vast majority of Proposition 1 expenditures will be micro projects like sidewalks, bike lanes, signal prioritization, and street repaving. I don’t have figures, but these have got to be much more labor intensive, dollar for dollar, than the region’s sexier programs.
And if you’re concerned about whether or not Proposition 1 will be good for the poor, and neither its impact on the transit-dependent nor endorsements from various social service groups aren’t enough to convince you, consider that these jobs are relevant to some of the more troubled employment sectors in the region. That’s why twelve different labor organizations (as of Saturday) have endorsed the measure.