News & Media
Vol. 6, No.12November 13, 2008
In This Issue …
- November 2008 Elections
- California Approved 8 out of 9 Transportation Measures decided last Tuesday
- Majority of Honolulu Voters Approve Commuter Rail
- Election Results Unfavorable for Transit in Kalamazoo County Michigan
- Mark your Calendars for the 2009 Transit Initiatives in Communities Conference!
November 2008 Elections
By all accounts, the November 2008 elections were a success for transportation. More than 70% of measures decided last Tuesday were in favor of transportation. As a result of this election, approximately $75 billion will be invested in the infrastructure, operations and maintenance of transportation systems across the country. For voters in many regions, the challenges of the current national economy were pitted directly against the future success of their regional economy. In other communities, voters would not have to look too far down the road to see the effect of their vote, as the fate of several transit systems hung directly on the approval of new investment. Overwhelmingly, voters saw the need for local investment and cast their vote in support.
California Approved 8 out of 9 Transportation Measures decided last Tuesday
RESULTS OF A 10TH BALLOT MEASURE STILL UNDECIDED
CFTE monitored 10 transportation ballot measures in the state of California, eight were approved on November 4 and one is still too close to call. With an 80%-90% passage rate, California can put November 2008 down as a very significant turning point for transportation in the state. More than $51.7 billion of the investment approved last Tuesday is for the state of California. After an aggressive campaign that received the support of the governor and both California Senators, as well as more than 100 business, environmental and taxpayer groups, the $9.9 billion high-speed rail bond was approved by 52%. With voter's approval of Proposition 1A, construction on the high-speed rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles may begin as early as 2011. Another significant campaign was also being waged in Los Angeles County, where residents were asked to raise their county sales tax by a half-cent to pay for new road and transit projects in an effort to reduce congestion and increase safety. The measure was approved by more than two-thirds of voters and will generate about $40 billion over 30 years. Santa Clara Valley's one-eighth cent sales tax to support the Valley Transportation Authority and BART expansion is still too close to call, but county voters did approve an advisory measure in support of the Valley Transportation Plan 2035. The results of the sales tax measure are not expected to be certified until December 2.
Majority of Honolulu Voters Approve Commuter Rail
AFTER SETBACKS FOR BOTH PROJECT AND MEASURE, VOTERS SAY 'YES'
Honolulu can now begin construction on a 20-mile, $4.3 billion commuter rail project after voters passed a city Charter amendment to authorize the construction. In the weeks leading up to the election a major pro-rail ad campaign was waged and with the strong support of Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, voters were able to see beyond the anti-rail campaigns that forced the issue to the ballot in the first place. For the past three decades, the city has been proposing an elevated rail system to relieve congestion and provide more transportation choices for residents and visitors of Honolulu. With the approval of voters, the project is now expected to begin construction by 2010 and be completed by 2018.
Election Results Unfavorable for Transit in Kalamazoo County, Michigan
OFFICIALS ALREADY PLANNING TO PUT MEASURE ON BALLOT IN EARLY 2009
Kalamazoo County's measure to replace expiring property taxes with a transportation millage was defeated at the ballot. Voters were asked to continue funding public transportation with a levy of 0.63 mills in 2008, which would increase to 0.86 mills by 2011. In its first year, the tax was expected to generate $5 million for Metro Transit's countywide bus system. Officials are now trying to figure out what went wrong this November compared to the 2006 election in which 52% of voters supported a transportation millage. Some potential problems include the ballot language itself, which proposed four separate tax rates between 2008 and 2011, or the current economic climate or even the local gossip about millage increases for other services in the near future. If officials are unable to get voters to approve a transportation millage early next year, the $7 million fund balance remaining for the Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority will run out by July 2009.
Mark your Calendars for the 2009 Transit Initiatives in Communities Conference!
CFTE will be conducting the biannual Transit Initiatives in Communities Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Conference will take place May 31, 2009-June 2, 2009 at the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel. More information and registration will be available at www.cfte.org in January.