Christopher B. Goodman, Suzanne M. Leland, and Olga Smirnova, “The Consequences of Specialized Governance on Spending and Expansion of Public Transit.” Local Government Studies


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Special purpose governments are commonly characterized as hidden governments with less taxpayer accountability and more debt than general purpose governments (Foster 1997; Greer 2016). However, little research has been conducted to see if operating and capital expenses are driven by the public’s perception of need or are a policy consequence of functional specialization. The following study tests how problem salience and form of government interact to impact local governments’ expenditures. We use National Transit Data (2013-2014) to test these moderating relationships. Our findings indicate that at least in the context of public transit, the problem salience is important for operating expenditures, but does not seem to have the same effect on the capital spending for expansion. This suggests that service area characteristics play a larger role in the spending and expansion than form of government. This also indicates that the moderating effect of salience and governance (Mullin 2008) does not appear to be significant for public transit policy.

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