News & Media
CFTE Express Vol.14, No.1February 24, 2016
In This Issue …
- Pulaski County Voters to Consider Quarter-Cent Sales Tax Measure March 1
- Measures to watch in March and April
- ICYMI: Talking Headways Podcast: New Tactics for Transportation Ballot Measures
- Upcoming Events
Pulaski County Voters to Consider Quarter-Cent Sales Tax Measure March 1
On March 1st, voters in Pulaski County, Arkansas will decide on a quarter-cent sales tax increase to fund Rock Region Metro transit services throughout the Little Rock region. Currently, Rock Region Metro’s local funding is allocated by Pulaski County municipalities according to service miles operated within each jurisdiction. While this is equitable, it leaves the agency with little flexibility, making major service expansions across several jurisdictions challenging. A dedicated sales tax would help provide greater flexibility to Rock Region Metro as it works to expand transit service in the Little Rock region.
Rock Region Metro, formerly the Central Arkansas Transit Authority, has outlined its MOVE Central Arkansas plan to expand and improve bus service. With increased funding generated by a successful measure on March 1st, the agency hopes to build a bus rapid transit system, add regular bus routes, improve frequency on high-volume routes, and complete numerous other projects to enhance the region’s mobility and connectivity.
The Committee to Connect in central Arkansas has launched the Vote to Connect campaign supporting the sales tax measure and working to educate the public on the importance of investment in transit. The measure enjoys support from a variety of community stakeholders, including the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods, and Arkansas Community Organizations.
At the same time, American’s for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative anti-tax group, has organized members of the community in opposition to the March 1st measure. They are knocking on doors and distributing pamphlets stating, “Pulaski County Residents will Pay the Price” if the proposed quarter-cent sales tax measure passes. Local AFP chapters are becoming increasingly vocal and active in campaigns opposing transit ballot measures across the country.
On Tuesday, Pulaski County voters will have the opportunity to support expanded transit service for their community. Be sure to check our website and follow CFTE on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the outcome of Tuesday’s election.
Measures to watch in March and April
2016 is already shaping up to be a busy year for transit advocates across the country. The vote in Pulaski County, Arkansas on March 1st is the first of many measures to go before voters this year.
After Pulaski County, two Michigan townships are slated to ask voters to support continued investment in transit on March 8th. Grand Haven Township will ask residents to renew a 0.95-mill property tax that supports Harbor Transit service. The renewal would raise over $670 thousand for the transit agency. In Bedford Township, officials will ask voters to increase the current 0.25-mill property tax funding Lake Erie Transit (LET) by 0.1-mill. If successful, this measure would bring the total levy up to the maximum of 0.35 mills for LET.
A long-anticipated, multi-faceted tax measure in Tulsa, Oklahoma is set to go before voters on April 5th. After discussion of significantly cutting transit investment out of their Vision tax Tulsa plan, city officials finally agreed to a plan that incorporates substantial funding for transit. If voters approve the 15-year Vision Tulsa tax plan on the April 5th ballot, an estimated $57 million, or 56 percent of total revenue allocated to transportation in the new tax plan, will go to transit expansion in Tulsa over that 15-year time period.
Also in April, voters in Ellensburg, Washington will decide on a 0.2 percent sales tax increase for ten years to support the Ellensburg Transportation Benefit District. This Benefit District oversees Central Transit. This measure will be on the ballot on April 26th and, if passed, would generate an estimated additional $792 thousand for Central Transit in 2017.
For a full list of the confirmed and potential measures CFTE is monitoring in 2016, be sure to check our website, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for news, election coverage, and more information on transportation ballot measures across the country.
ICYMI: Talking Headways Podcast: New Tactics for Transportation Ballot Measures
Jason Jordan, CFTE’s Executive Director, recently spoke with Streetsblog’s Jeff Wood about the current climate for transportation ballot measures and strategies for success. He also addressed tactics for combatting political action networks that oppose public investment in transit as they become increasingly engaged in local initiatives.
Check out the podcast here!
Six Stops to Success Webinar Series 2015-2016, Part 3
Tuesday, March 8th, 2016
Most efforts to build or expand transit face critics. Some of the attacks of transit critics are familiar. However, recent ballot and legislative campaigns have seen important changes in the strategies and tactics of critics. In addition, new organizations are actively working to oppose initiatives. This webinar will look at the evolution of transit critics and their attacks. Experts will address ways to combat both local and outside critics while also building support among diverse groups of advocates in your community.
Speakers: Tom Shrout, Avvantt Partners; Morgan Lyons, Dallas Area Rapid Transit; Gloria Ohland, Move LA
March 13-15, 2016
JW Marriott, Washington, DC
The Legislative Conference educates members on important federal legislation and policy initiatives; provides members with the opportunity to shape future industry positions and federal transportation policy; provides direction on the industry’s legislative strategy and advocacy efforts with the U.S. Congress and Administration executives; and offers sessions with key members of Congress, Hill staff, Administration officials, and Washington opinion makers.
Who should attend: CEOs, board members, government affairs and communications professionals, transit operators, consultants, manufacturers and suppliers, local coalition members, and state association leaders.