News & Media
Vol. 9, No. 2March 28, 2011
In This Issue …
- Preliminary Program Released for 2011 TIC Conference
- February Election Results
- Spring Elections
- Denver RTD Delays Decision to go to Ballot
- TIC 2011 Sponsorship Opportunities
2011 Transit Initiatives & Communities Conference
PRELIMINARY PROGRAM ANNOUNCED
Join us in St. Louis, MO from June 20 - June 22, 2011 for the biannual Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference. The event starts on Monday afternoon with a campaign workshop, a highlight tour of Metro Transit and a welcome reception in downtown St. Louis. Tuesday and Wednesday will bring you sessions with experienced campaign professionals, transit agency representatives and coalition organizers. Whether your community is just beginning to build a coalition of support for transportation choice and investment, or actively working on a ballot measure campaign, there will be sessions to to help you move forward. To download the preliminary program and to register, please visit http://www.cfte.org/TIC/TIC2011.asp.
Early registration prices end May 20, 2011.
February Election Results
50/50 FOR WASHINGTON STATE ELECTIONS
Results from the first two transit elections of the year are split. Voters in Jefferson County approved Proposition 1 by 56% to 44%. The measure asked voters to increase the local sales tax by 0.3 percent to avoid cuts to Sunday bus and dial-a-ride service. The sales tax increase is expected to generate $1.1 million annually for Jefferson Transit.
A similar proposition in Pierce County did not fare as well. Voters did not approve the 0.3 percent sales tax increase by 45% to 55%. The increase was necessary to maintain Pierce Transit's existing service. A phased in reduction of service hours is expected to begin in the fall with an ultimate reduction of 35% by 2012. The cut is necessary for the agency to avoid a $51 million shortfall by the end of next year. Between 2007 and 2010, the agency went through two rounds of layoffs, delay or elimination of several capital projects, fare increases and a nearly 8% reduction of service.
Spring Election Outlook
MAY 3 BALLOTS INCLUDE SEVERAL TRANSIT MEASURES
Kent County, MI is going back to the ballot for The Rapid after a disappointing loss in 2009. Voters in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Kentwood, Grandville and Walker will be asked to support a 0.35 mill increase to the current five-year 1.12 mill tax levy. If approved, this would increase the total levy to 1.47 mills for seven years. This increase is necessary to expand bus service for the region and add high speed bus mass transit.
Voters in Grand Haven, MI will be asked to support a five-year 0.95 mill property tax increase for transportation investment. The expected $605,200 generated annually will support expansion of Harbor Transit, as well as funding for the repair and construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure. The funding would be divided with approximately $52,000 for the Downtown Development Authority, $295,000 for Harbor Transit and $258,200 for road maintenance.
A 0.4 mill renewal is also on the ballot in Holland Township, MI for the Macatawa Area Express Bus and in Stark County, OH a 0.25 percent sales tax renewal is on the ballot to continue to support SARTA service.
Denver RTD Delays Decision to Go to Ballot
QUESTION OF "WHEN, NOT IF"
On March 8, directors of the Regional Transportation District in Denver, CO voted to wait until May 3 to determine when to place a measure on the ballot for FasTracks. Voters first approved the project in 2004 with an expectation of a 12-year timeline. Due to an unexpected increase in construction costs and decreasing sales tax revenue, the project is now expected to take until 2042 to complete without additional funding.
The RTD Board of Directors have been contemplating several possible options for completing construction in the most cost-effective manner. The favored option is a 0.4 percent sales tax increase, but the directors will continue evaluating data to determine whether it has the best chance this November or if it should be delayed until 2012. If it is approved this November, FasTracks would be completed in 2019. If it is delayed a year, so would completion of the project. While the latest poll of residents does not show strong support for a tax increase, the original measure was supported by more than 57% of the voters and many community leaders have expressed support for a sales tax increase.
Become a Sponsor for the 2011 TIC Conference!
The biannual Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference is attended by representatives from transit agencies, local officials, transportation supporters, advocates, and ballot measure campaign professionals. Become a sponsor of the 2011 TIC Conference to reach key players in the next election cycle and to support a successful event. We have limited sponsorship opportunities available so act quickly.
For more details on the benefits of sponsorship, please visit http://cfte.org/TIC/TIC2011.asp to download a sponsorship form.