News & Media
January 2014 NewsletterJanuary 28, 2014
In This Issue …
- • 2014 Election Outlook
- • Get On Board with our Six Stops to Success webinar series
- • APTA Releases Updated Transit Cost Savings
The 2014 Election Cycle Promises To Be Busy
The 2014 election cycle is beginning to take shape. One of the more interesting ballot measures of the year will take place this March in Tigard, Oregon. In response to an ongoing study of a potential rapid-transit line from Portland, Tigard voters will be asked to make an anti-transit stance an official city policy. The measure, if passed, would have Tigard adopt a public policy opposing high-capacity transit within the city unless approved by voters. The city would then send a letter each year to the governor of Oregon, the Department of Transportation, County commissioners, Metro council, TriMet board, and the director of the Federal Transit Administration notifying them of the city’s opposition.
Pinellas County, Florida, will go to the ballot in November to approve raising the sales tax by one cent to 8 percent for the purpose of building a light-rail system and to expand the existing bus service, generating $130 million a year. In neighboring Polk County, voters will weigh in giving themselves a break on property taxes while increasing the sales tax by a penny. Half of the revenue generated by the new tax would go to roads while the other half would go to the development, construction, equipment, maintenance, operation, and supportive services for a county-wide bus transit system. Other confirmed ballot initiatives this year include Oklahoma, which is following their successful sales tax referendum last year in the city of Tulsa with a similar measure in Tulsa County, most likely in March, and in Parkersburg, West Virginia, voters will decide to renew a two-year levy for the bus operations for the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority in May.
Cities to Watch
We’re starting to see proposed measures in pop up in Milwaukie, Oregon, to pass a $4 million bond to pay its light-rail obligation to TriMet, in Los Angeles to raise the county’s sales tax half a cent to fund transportation, and in Alameda County, California, to increase the current transportation sales tax from half a cent to a full penny on the dollar for thirty years. King County, Washington, Executive Dow Constantine, along with four county council members and other regional officials have proposed an April vote on the creation of a transportation benefit district that implement a $60 annual vehicle fee and a one-tenth of a cent sales tax, generating a combined $110 million a year. Sixty percent of the revenue would go directly to Metro, while the remainder would be used for roads and transportation infrastructure. Kansas City, Missouri, is considering a double election season this year to fund expansion of their streetcar line with an August vote to create a transit development district, followed by a November vote to decide on a funding mechanism within that district. Finally, in Michigan, the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority adopted a five-year transit improvement plan which includes a request to voters for an additional transit millage to generate the additional $5.4 million required to implement the plan.
What may turn out to be the most interesting trend in elections this year is the growth of state-wide initiatives in Massachusetts, Missouri, Colorado, and California. In November, a Massachusetts campaign seeks to repeal a provision in a law passed in 2013 that would increase the gas tax annually to match the growth in the consumer price index for the use of transportation projects. Colorado is being led by Lone Tree mayor Jim Gunning to consider a state wide .7 percent tax increase in November for transportation improvements, while Missouri is working to get its own one cent sales tax onto the ballot to fund transportation projects. California is looking at two separate ballot initiatives with transportation implications, one to change the winning percentage for ballot measures from a 67% majority to 60%, and a funding referendum to increase the vehicle license fee from .65 percent of the value of a car to 1.65 percent.
Look for more updates and profiles of individual campaigns in upcoming newsletters.
Join us for our next webinar and learn about campaign funding!
CFTE and NAPTA are midway through a third installment of a free webinar training series, Six Stops to Success: Putting your Transportation Message in Service. These webinars are designed to provide both advocates and transportation organizations with the necessary tolls to take a transportation ballot measure from an idea to a winning proposition.
The next webinar, “Funding Your Campaign”, will take place February 18. Our guest speakers for this event include Kristin Oblander, the campaign fundraiser who led the Atlanta referendum campaign to raising $6 million, Diana Williams of the Funders Network for Smart Growth, and Tom Shrout, who led St. Louis based Citizens for Modern Transit during their successful referendum campaign. Register online now!
The remainder of the webinars are “Making Friends for Transit Investment” in March, “Going Multimodal at the Ballot Box” in April, and our last webinar of this series will be “Public Transportation Research” in May. To find out more about these series and to view the recorded presentations from November’s Transit Election Trends and January’s Getting Ready for the Ballot webinars, visit our website.
Transit Savings Continue to Grow
Despite the rollback of the Federal transit benefit at the beginning of the year, APTA is reporting that the cost savings of transit over driving to work continues to rise.
On average, commuters who take transit instead of driving to work save $829 a month, for a total of $9,953 annually. These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle which includes the January 16, 2014 average national gas price ($3.30 per gallon- reported by AAA), and the national unreserved monthly parking rate ($166.26, $1995 annually).
APTA releases the monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car. You can find these reports along with a tool to calculate how much you can saveby choosing to transit and other great advocacy resources on PublicTransportation.org.