News & Media
Vol. 6, No. 10October 30, 2008
In This Issue …
- $60 Billion for Transportation at Stake on November 4-- 26 Transportation Measures in 15 States on Tuesday's Ballots
Next Tuesday, voters will decide the fate of at least $60 billion in new transportation-related investments. More funding for transportation will be at stake on November 4 than in any single election day since CFTE began tracking ballot measures. In 2008, CFTE has monitored the status of 41 transportation ballot measures in 18 states. Fifteen measures were completed earlier in the year, leaving 26 measures in 15 states to be decided on the November ballot. Colorado, Missouri, Michigan, New Mexico and Oregon each have two regions with transportation ballot measures and California has seven measures, including one statewide high-speed rail referendum.
Once again states and communities across the nation are asking voters to approve new investments in vital transportation projects. The recent track record for these measures suggests that people are very willing to invest their tax dollars to improve transportation when the benefits are clear. Public opinion in favor of increased transportation options has resulted in positive outcomes for measures on the ballot earlier this year. High gas prices, the growing awareness of climate change and the call for energy-efficient living has created a very positive environment for public transportation and has also contributed to a ridership increase in many regions.
To date, 12 measures have been approved in favor of public transportation and will raise $40 million a year for local transit agencies in those regions. As has been the case in previous years, the majority of ballot measures are related to financing and sales taxes are the choice tool. Of 26 measures, 16 to sales tax increases or renewals, 5 are for property taxes and 3 are for bonds. Below are brief descriptions of three significant financing measures.
- Los Angeles County, California - The business community and local political leaders worked together to get a 1/2 cent sales tax increase on the November ballot to finance new and existing transportation projects, including highways, local roads and mass transit. If approved by 2/3 of voters, the sales tax will raise up to $40 billion over 30 years.
- Seattle, Washington - Last year's "Roads and Transit" plan was defeated because of its size and cost. This year, voters will decide on a sales tax increase to fund a redesigned transit-only plan that is expected to cost $17.8 billion over the next 20 years for Sound Transit.
- California, statewide - $10 billion bond proposal for high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles
A complete list of 2008 ballot initiatives is available at http://www.cfte.org/.