CATS expected to support $1.6 billion in economic impact in Greater Baton Rouge

July 29, 2021

CATS expected to support $1.6 billion in economic impact for Greater Baton Rouge 

The Capital Area Transit System (CATS) is expected to support a total economic impact of $1.6 billion over the next 10 years for the greater Baton Rouge area generated from operations and planned capital investments a recent study found.

The economic impact study, conducted by Dr. Stephen Barnes, director of the Kathleen Blanco Public Policy Center and associate professor of economics at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, demonstrates the significant value of the transit agency to the community in supporting local jobs and employers while spurring economic development. In his analysis, Dr. Barnes reviewed CATS’ operations and projected capital investments over the next 10 years to identify the direct and indirect impact CATS is expected to have on the local economy each year.

“The return on investment with CATS is clear,” said Dr. Barnes. “By leveraging local funds to secure additional federal dollars, CATS brings significant new capital to the Baton Rouge area that then circulates throughout the local economy while further enhancing its role in connecting thousands of riders daily to their jobs.”

The study highlights that every local dollar invested in CATS results in $7.40 in economic return on investment. The American Public Transportation Association reports a national average of $5 in economic return on investment for every dollar invested in transit. The higher return on investment shows how CATS leverages its local funding to bring in additional federal dollars to the local economy. This finding illustrates the quantifiable, far-reaching benefits of the transit agency for Baton Rouge’s economy and continued growth.

“Beyond the value of connecting workers to jobs and critical services, as well as reducing traffic, it’s great to see the measurable value of CATS on our local economy and community,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “This study demonstrates that CATS is a not only a catalyst for economic development, but also plays an important role in supporting jobs and boosting our community during a time when we need it most.”

Voters will consider renewing CATS’ local millage on October 9. The agency has presented plans for how it intends to continue leveraging local revenue and federal funding to invest in environmentally friendly electric vehicles, transit hub connections, system expansion, new technology for rider accessibility and convenience, and capital projects such as bus rapid transit service. For more information, visit

View More News