News & Media
Vol. 9, No. 3April 25, 2011
In This Issue …
- New Report on Successful 2010 Prop A in St. Louis
- 30/10 Initiative Uses Transit Investment to Stimulate Economy
- Sales Tax Increase Approved for Nov. Ballot in Clark County WA
- Upcoming Elections
- TIC 2011 Sponsorship Opportunities
New Report on Successful 2010 Prop A in St. Louis
PREVIEW LESSONS TO BE EXPLORED AT 2011 TIC CONFERENCE
Despite an average approval rating of 70%, few transportation ballot measures are easy sells without preparation. In some cases communities have to go to the ballot a second or third time--learning from their mistakes along the way--before voters really get the message. St. Louis County, MO went to the ballot in November 2008 with a ½ cent transit sales tax and lost with only 48% of the vote. Seventeen months later a similar measure, Prop A, was approved by a dramatic 63% of voters in April 2010. Clearly there are lessons to be learned from this community.
The Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis has released a report that examines the factors that contributed to the success of Prop A. Key campaign elements included a "well-designed GOTV effort" and "a broad coalition" that stretched across common divides and included those affected most by the measure. Check out From Checkbook Campaigns to Civic Coalitions: Lessons from the Passage of Prop A to learn more about the campaign and why CFTE has chosen St. Louis as the location for this year's Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference.
More information on the 2011 TIC Conference can be found at http://www.cfte.org/TIC/TIC2011.asp. Early registration rates end in just a few weeks!
30/10 Initiative Uses Transit Investment to Stimulate Economy
EFFORT LAUNCHED TO PROMOTE SIMILAR PLAN NATIONWIDE
In November 2008, voters in LA County approved Measure R, a ½ cent sales tax for local transportation projects. The original plan behind the measure was to use the nearly $40 billion generated over 30 years to complete twelve transportation projects, but as the economy weakened and unemployment grew, local leaders realized the importance of completely these projects sooner. The 30/10 Initiative was born as a means of financing the 12 projects over a period of ten years instead of thirty. The plan requires federal support through a variety of tools; including grants, low interest federal loans, and help securing and affording private loans.
This program has received bipartisan support both in the Los Angeles community and in Congress. Political leaders have hailed efforts in Los Angeles County and called for federal support to leverage local dollars. In a press conference last month, California Democrats Senator Barbara Boxer and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came together with Republicans Congressman John Mica and Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, AZ to support bringing the idea to the national stage under than name America Fast Forward. The implications of this plan could dramatically change the way transportation infrastructure is funded in this country. The cost-share burden on locals has already but growing for years as evident in the rise of ballot measures, but new means of leveraging this funding with federal support has the potential to create entirely different landscape for infrastructure investment.
Sales Tax Increase Approved for Nov. Ballot in Clark County, WA
DECISION ON MEASURE FOR HIGH CAPACITY TRANSIT DELAYED
The first transit measure confirmed for the November 2011 ballot is a 0.2 percent sales tax increase to support bus service in Clark County, Washington. If approved, the extra revenue would be used to support existing C-TRAN service and expected growth of the agency's paratransit service, C-VAN. The agency currently collects only 0.5 percent sales tax revenue, which is less than any other urban transit system in the state.
Prior to deciding to go to the ballot, C-TRAN raised fares four times including an increase approved at this week's board meeting where the ballot measure was approved for the general election. C-TRAN has also frozen wages, reduced staff and cut service on under-performing routes. If the ballot measure is not approved, the agency would need to reduce service by more than 35 percent after draining funding reserves expected to last only until 2012.
C-TRAN is also considering--but has postponed making a final decision on--a separate measure for the August or November 2012 ballot that would ask for a 0.1 percent sales tax increase to support light rail and bus rapid transit.
FIVE TRANSIT MEASURES ON MAY 3 BALLOTS
Stark County, OH-- Renewal of a 0.25 percent sales tax for Stark Area Regional Transit Authority bus service
Holland, MI-- Renewal of a 0.4 mill property tax to support to operations of the Macatawa Area Express bus system
Grand Rapids, MI-- A 0.35 mill property tax increase to expand bus service across The Rapid system
Grand Haven Township, MI-- A 0.95 mill property tax increase for Harbor Transit and road/bridge investment
Benzie County, MI-- Renewal and Restoration of a 0.5 mill property to support Benzie Bus
Become a Sponsor for the 2011 TIC Conference!
This is the final opportunity to become a sponsor of the 2011 Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference. This event will be attended by representatives from transit agencies, local officials, transportation advocates, and campaign professionals from communities nationwide. Please contact CFTE at 202.349.1037 to find out how to become a sponsor.
For more details on the benefits of sponsorship, please visit http://cfte.org/TIC/TIC2011.asp.