News & Media
Vol. 4, No. 4March 27, 2006
In This Issue …
- Marin & Sonoma County Voters Embrace Rail Plan
- States Seek Increased Funding for Public Transportation
- First Steps for Your Ballot Measure Campaign
- Light Rail in Twin Cities Gets Green Light
- News Updates
Marin and Sonoma County Voters Embrace Rail Plan
POLL FINDS STRONG SUPPORT FOR JUNE BALLOT MEASURE
Earlier this month Marin and Sonoma County voters declared their strong support for commuter rail service through the two counties according to a public poll that concluded that 72 percent of voters in the two counties would vote "yes" for a quarter-cent sales tax to pay for the service. The issue has already been placed on the November 2006 ballot in Marin and Sonoma . If passed, it would create a new commuter rail service on 70 miles of existing and publicly owned rail tracks between Cloverdale in northern Sonoma County and the Larkspur Ferry terminal area in Marin. The plan also includes a new 70-mile bike path to run parallel to the tracks. When told the general outline of the rail proposal the most important issue to voters was that the passenger train will reduce traffic on Highway 101 by taking approximately 5000 passengers off the road per day in Marin and Sonoma counties, which was rated "very important" by 72 percent of those surveyed.
Get more information at CFTE's Update on 2006 Ballot Measures
States Seek Increased Funding for Public Transportation
LEGISLATORS ACTIVE ON VARIETY OF TRANSPORTATION FUNDING BILLS
Following the passage of SAFETEA-LU in August 2005 a number of states started looking to increase state transportation funding levels that will act as a match for the federal funding. Alabama is among a number of states that are relying on the state legislature to increase funding for transit. In Alabama , State Senator Rodger Smitherman (D) has proposed a bill that would amend the state constitution to allow gasoline tax funds to be used for public transportation. Passing this piece of legislation would allow a number of projects to move forward. Most notably, Birmingham's plans for a revamped, regional transit system which includes better bus service, carpool lanes on interstates, express buses, park-and-ride lots and a downtown trolley system. Other states that have taken legislative action or have proposal currently in the state legislature include:
New Jersey - March 24, 2006 Governor Corzine signed a bill that will raise $8 billion for the state's highway, bridge and mass transit projects during the next five years.
Washington - The 2005 Washington State Legislature provided a 16-year expenditure plan to take care of some of Washington State 's most critical transportation needs including transit.
Illinois - Governor Rod Blagojevich has proposed a $2.3 billion transportation infrastructure program that would provide new capital funds for urban public transportation systems.
Connecticut - Gov. M. Jodi Rell and top Assembly leaders have unveiled several plans since the session opened, the most recent being House Speaker James Amann's 10-year, $5 billion program that largely mirrors state Transportation Strategy Board recommendations.
Read more on state initiatives in CFTE's transportation news archive.
First Steps for Your Campaign
POLLING AND PUBLIC OUTREACH CONSIDERED VITAL
So you're launching a transportation ballot measure campaign. You've got a measure approved for the ballot and plan for the new investment. What's next? Several speakers at the 2005 Transit Initiatives Conference addressed that very issue. Based on their successful experiences in San Diego, Utah, and Phoenix, experts offered some proven 'first steps' for your campaign related to understanding public opinion and beginning your voter targeting efforts:
• Understand where you stand with the public through a baseline phone poll;
• Identify subregions within your voting area and matching these subregions with voting data;
• Using your subregions, conduct focus groups to deepen your baseline data and test your messages;
• Begin crafting a field operations plan based on vote targets, history, projections, and focus group results;
• Conduct an aggressive public education and outreach effort based on the investment plan for the new transportation resources (Ideally, this work will have been well underway prior to the campaign launch);
• Plan for on-going polling to gage your support and make tactical decisions as the campaign moves forward.
The experts also agreed that every good campaign begins with a well-crafted plan and compelling message. CFTE's website has resources on campaign planning and message development, along with the presentations from the 2005 conference.
Read more details from presentation at the 2005 Transit Initiatives Conference.
Light Rail in Twin Cities Gets a Green Light
PROPOSED DEEMED 'COST EFFECTIVE' UNDER FEDERAL RULES
Regional officials announced earlier this week that a proposed light rail transit line in the Central Corridor has achieved a favorable cost-effectiveness index (CEI), improving its chances to win final state and federal approvals. The proposed LRT alternative has CEI score in the range of $24 to $25 per hour. This index compares the annualized costs for construction and operation of the proposed line with the estimated hours of commuting time saved each year by its users. The Federal Transit Administration requires a CEI score of under $28 per hour before a project can enter preliminary engineering and $22 per hour before it can receive funding for construction. The 11-mile, $840 million LRT line on University Avenue
would link four major centers of activity and generators of trips in the region - downtown Minneapolis , the University of Minnesota , the Midway area and downtown St. Paul .
Get the latest transportation news headlines from CFTE.
CFTE monitors new developments in public transportation across the nation, including upcoming and potential elections.
Check out our 2006 news archive for recent articles.
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