Capital Budgeting in the States

State governments play a central role in building and maintaining the nation’s infrastructure. Financial decisions for infrastructure, or capital projects, impact public assets such as roads, bridges, university buildings, prisons, water resources and more. Investments in infrastructure are complex and require significant resource commitments and organizational planning. The additional considerations inherent to capital goods require different budgetary plans, concepts and practices, from those used to prioritize spending on day-to-day expenses. This report delivers state-by-state comparative information on the ways budget officers develop and implement capital spending plans.

Capital Budgeting in the States


Staff Contact

Brian Sigritz



After several years of slow recovery, states have shifted some of their focus from immediate budgetary pressures to long-term structural challenges like infrastructure. This report delivers information such as:

  • how states make decisions to invest in new facilities or maintain old ones;
  • ways states distinguish infrastructure spending from day to day operating expenses;
  • criteria for project financing strategies and options for funding infrastructure;
  • efforts to mitigate fiscal risks from debt issuance, and more.

 Key Findings

  • 19 states do not include transportation in the capital budget.
  • 29 states include information technology in the capital budget.
  • 26 states fund higher education capital projects with general fund dollars.
  • In 19 states, only voters can approve general obligation debt issuance.
  • 43 states require projects to have an estimate of fiscal impact on future operating budgets.