News & Media
Vol. 8, No. 3March 12, 2010
In This Issue …
- Transit on April Ballot in Whatcom County WA
- California Legislature Approves Gas Tax Swap to Reduce Deficit
- Los Angeles Considering Fast Tracking Metro Projects
- Six Stops to Success
Transit on April Ballot in Whatcom County, WA
PROP 1 to PRESERVE PUBLIC TRANSIT
Transit ridership has been growing in Whatcom County, Washington at a record pace. Whatcom Transit Authority (WTA) reports that between 2006 and 2009 ridership on WTA buses increased by 52 percent. However, the current economic climate has forced WTA to make over $2 million in cuts and they are facing over $4 million in additional cuts over the next year.
A group of community leaders have formed a committee called The People for Whatcom Transit. This coalition of transit supporters have been working to ensure WTA has the ability to continue to provide public transportation by placing a measure on the April 27th ballot. The measure asks voters to raise the local sales tax an additional 0.02 percent to prevent future transit cuts.
A recent survey indicated that 56 percent of residents would support a sales tax increase to maintain or improve transit service. To find out more about this measure visit the campaign website: http://www.preserveourpublictransit.org/pitch-in
Visit www.cfte.org for more ballot news
CA Legislature Approves Gas Tax Swap to Reduce Deficit
FINAL AGREEMENT MAINTAINS FUNDING FOR TRANSIT
Earlier this month, the California legislature approved a complicated gas tax bill in an attempt to reduce the state budget deficit. The legislation is modeled after Governor Schwarzenegger's proposal to replace the sales tax on gasoline with a larger excise tax. This is essentially an accounting mechanism to move more money into the state's general fund, where the deficit exists.
This was an extremely contentious issue in the transit community as the sales tax on gasoline has provided core revenues to the Public Transportation Account (PTA) for decades. However, the final package will provide $400 million in immediate appropriations from the Public Transportation Account (PTA) balance to the State Transit Assistance Program (STA). This comes after more than $3.5 billion in transit funding has been illegally diverted from the PTA account over the previous three years.
The tax exchange is estimated to generate $1.1 billion for the general fund while continuing to provide close to the current level of funding for public transit and repairs to highways and streets.
The legislation is now before Governor Schwarzenegger for final approval.
For more transit news visit www.cfte.org
Los Angeles Considering Fast Tracking Metro Projects
30/10 INITIATIVE WOULD SAVE MONEY AND CREATE JOBS
From California to Washington, lawmakers have been talking about the Los Angeles 30/10 Initiative, which proposes to accelerate the construction of 12 transit projects from a 30-year timeline to just 10 years. In November 2008, voters in Los Angeles County approved a half cent sales tax called Measure R to build 12 new rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) lines and add approximately 78 miles of new service in the next three decades.
Several compelling factors have lined up to convince the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority that an accelerated schedule could be in their benefit. Two major results of the recession are high unemployment levels, particularly in the construction industry, and low cost of construction and materials. Combined with the inflation costs that would occur in the next 30 years, Los Angeles now has the opportunity to save over $4 billion dollars and create 16,000 new jobs a year.
The only problem with the new initiative is that in the next ten years there will only be $5.8 billion in transit capital funds available and an additional $8.8 billion will be needed to complete the projects. Measure R is expected to generate $10.4 billion in its second and third decades, so Los Angeles is asking Congress for a loan to be paid back with sales tax revenue in the remaining years of the 30/10 plan. Several different methods of financing have been discussed, including Build America Bonds, loans from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (TIFIA) and a proposed national infrastructure bank. It remains to be seen if a financing deal can be made, but the proposal serves as an example for other areas of the country.
Six Stops to Success
PUTTING YOUR TRANSPORTATION MESSAGE IN SERVICE
The free, six-part webinar training series continues on March 19 with Making Your Message Matter. Even if your community is not looking to go to the ballot in 2010, it is never too early to begin laying the groundwork! This session will be moderated by Rosemary Sheridan, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at APTA. The panelists will include Jared Boigon from TBWB Strategies, Oliver Griswold from GMMB and Kyle Curtis and Michael Navarre from R&R Partners.
Six Stops to Success will continue with webinars once a month through May. All webinars are scheduled on Fridays at 1:00pm Eastern Time.
View Recordings and Slideshows online!
Friday, November 13, 2010
Election Trends: Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future
Friday, January 15, 2010
Getting Started on a Ballot Measure Campaign
Friday, February 19, 2010
Building a Winning Coalition
FUTURE WEBINARS: Register Now!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Making Your Message Matter
Friday, April 23, 2010
Social Media: Friending, Tweeting & Blogging Your Way to Success
Friday, May 14, 2010
Silencing the Naysayers
For more information and to register, please visit: www.cfte.org