News & Media
Vol. 11, No. 3August 22, 2013
In This Issue …
- Mountain Line Launches Campaign for Transit Levy
- Judge Upholds Financing for Streetcar in Kansas City
- Two Small Michigan Communities Vote Down Transit
- 2013 TIC Conference Presentations
- Fighting Transit Myths
Mountain Line Launches Campaign for Transit Levy
Voters in Missoula, MT, will be asked to approve a transit levy for the first time in more than 35 years this November. The mill levy will be used to provide specific improvements to service, including increased bus frequency, extended evening service on several high-use routes, and increased van service for seniors and the disabled.
Last Thursday, Friends of Mountain Line launched their campaign to much fanfare. The measure has support from many community leaders and groups, including the Missoula Downtown Association, Community Medical Center, and the University of Montana public transportation office. Missoula Mayor John Engen serves as treasurer for Friends of Mountain Line. The launch of the campaign garnered positive press from several local TV stations, the city paper, The Missoulan, and Montana Public Radio.
If approved, the levy is expected to generate $1.7 million annually. To learn more about the campaign and follow their efforts, visit: http://www.friendsofmountainline.org/
Judge Upholds Financing for Streetcar in Kansas City
On August 7, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a decision to dismiss a lawsuit that threatened the downtown streetcar project in Kansas City.
Two separate mail-in elections in 2012 established new property taxes and a 1-cent sales tax on downtown businesses to help support the two mile streetcar. A lawsuit was filed earlier this year by two downtown property owners seeking to have the voter-approved taxes ruled unconstitutional. The lawsuit was initially dismissed after a judge determined that the window for a legal challenge had closed long before the lawsuit was filed and that the city followed the proper procedures in allowing the public to weigh in before the downtown taxing district was established. With the original decision upheld, the city is free to continue planning for the streetcar.
The project is expected to cost $100 million and run mostly on Main Street from River Market to Union Station. Planning and design for the project are already underway and it is expected to open for business in summer 2015.
Two Small Michigan Communities Vote Down Transit
The Delta Area Transit Authority, which currently receives financial support from only the cities of Gladstone and Escanaba, sought to expand their operational funding base by asking voters in Escanaba and Wells Townships for a 0.5 mill levy.
Unfortunately, with election turnout between 7-10% in both towns, the five year levies were defeated. Together they would have generated about $170,000 annually for DATA bus service. This election stands in stark contrast to last August's ballot when 17 local transit measure were approved by Michigan voters for a 100% success rate for the day. A key difference between the two elections is that most of 2012's measures were in communities that were already served by transit and the townships voting on August 6th do not currently benefit from service.
2013 TIC Conference Presentations
Couldn’t make it to the 2013 Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference? We missed you! This year’s event had over 170 participants and included some fantastic presentations and productive peer discussions. The transit and business community in Atlanta proved to be wonderful and open hosts—sharing honestly about the failings of the 2012 transportation referendum and their plans for the future. Communities from 21 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada were represented and the diversity and similarities of the campaign stories led to invigorating discussions.
Whether you missed the conference or want to go back and refresh your memory, the presentations are available on our website as permanent resources: http://www.cfte.org/initiatives-conferences.
Fighting Transit Myths
One of our perennial discussions at the TIC Conference is responding to critics and dealing with the pervasive myths about transit. From operating and construction costs to transit’s impact on congestion and the economy, there is a lot of misinformation out there that minimizes the benefits of investment in public transportation.
The Charlotte Area Transit System has recently done their own series of infographics responding to some myths that have popped up in their community. The communications department at CATS has successfully combined facts with visually impactful graphics to help the public understand how their tax dollars are being used to improve the economy, environment, and future of Charlotte, NC.
Has your community done something similar? If you have a PowerPoint, infographics or a handout that provides a fact-based response to critics and are willing to share it, send us the details at email@example.com. Do critics in your community keep attacking with the same argument and you aren’t sure how to disprove it? Send us a note! We are happy to help develop a response.