News & Media
Vol. 7, No. 6November 02, 2009
In This Issue …
- Special Election Preview Edition
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Public Transportation Funding at Stake on November 3
7 Transportation Measures in 6 States on Tuesday's Ballots
The Center for Transportation Excellence is monitoring seven measures in six states that are scheduled for the ballot on November 3, 2009. Of those measures, five are finance, one would establish a Regional Transportation District, and one would amend a city charter to require voter approval of all public transportation projects. Three of the finance measures ask voters to increase property taxes, one is for a statewide transportation bond, and one would impose a vehicle fee to support a transportation benefit district.
The volatile economy, coupled with the off-year election, has resulted in relatively few transportation ballot measures. Three financing measures appeared on ballots this year prior to the November election. Voters approved two out of three of those measures. CFTE anticipates that 2010 will be a more robust year for transportation elections, as both legislatures and communities began considering a variety of potential measures this year, but held off as a result of the economic downturn. At this point, there are already fifteen likely measures for ballots in 2010 and additional measures are expected to be announced in the coming months.
On Friday, November 13, the Center for Transportation Excellence will be hosting a webinar to analyze the results and implications from the November 2009 elections. "Election Trends: Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future" will also take a look at key trends that have appeared over the past decade and how they might play out in the 2010 election cycle and beyond. Registration for this webinar, which is the first in a six-part webinar training series, is available online at www.cfte.org.
Below are brief descriptions of the seven measures on the November 3, 2009 ballot:
Colorado Springs, CO
Type: Property Tax
This measure would increase the local property tax by 10 mills over five years with six mills in year one, and one additional mill each of the next four years. The levy would support the city's community centers, pools, parks, transit services and police and fire departments.
Porter and St. Joseph Counties, IN
Type: Establishment of RTD
Voters in Porter and St. Joseph counties will be asked if they support the establishment of the Northern Indiana Regional Transportation District to oversee the South Shore commuter railroad and bus systems in Porter and Lake Counties, as well as provide long-range planning for transit. The new NIRTD would be able to impose an income tax of up to 0.25 percent in each member county. Only two of the four counties required by state law to place the measure on the ballot have complied. Due to this, the outcome for the measure may still be uncertain after the election.
Maine voters statewide will be asked to approve a $71.25 million bond to support a variety of transportation investments and to help Maine leverage more than $148 million in matching funds from federal, local and private sources. Funding in this bond would be divided amongst various transportation needs, including $55 million for highway and bridge investment, $4 million for rail investments, including $2 million for a new Critical Rail Corridors Program, and $400,000 for investment in an intermodal transportation facility. The remainder of the funds would be for aviation, port and ferry improvements.
Type: Property tax
The Mass Transportation Authority is asking Flint voters to approve another five-year request for primary bus routes. The measure is a renewal of the current 0.6 mill property tax. It is expected to generate about $814,164 in the first fiscal year it is collected. If approved, the measure would extend the tax until June 30, 2016.
Type: Property tax
In May, voters approved the first part of a two-step plan to increase support for the struggling system with a county-wide vote on a 0.4 mill increase. The second part of the plan is a 0.6 mill request, on the November ballot, which will generate approximately $1 million annually for Metro Transit for three years. The November measure will not be county-wide, and will only be voted on by citizens of the city of Kalamazoo.
Type: Charter Amendment
Voters will be asked to vote on a proposed charter amendment that would require that any rail project, including the $185 million, 7.9-mile streetcar plan, be subject to a general vote by the citizens of Cincinnati. The broad wording of the amendment means that any rail project, regardless of whether it has a tax increase associated with it, would be prevented from moving forward until receiving voter approval.
Type: Vehicle fee
If approved, this proposition would authorize Burien's Transportation Benefit District to impose an annual vehicle license fee of twenty-five dollars within the District to fund two voter-approved bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects. The fee would terminate when the financing is completed and paid.
A complete list of 2009 ballot initiatives is available at www.cfte.org. The Center for Transportation Excellence is a non-partisan research group based in Washington, D.C.