News & Media
Vol. 4, No. 5April 27, 2006
In This Issue …
- Ridership Up in 2005
- TABOR Measures Return to Ballots
- Push is On for Transit Funding in Pennsylvania
- Administration Says Trust Fund Headed into the Red
- Trends in Transportation Ballot Measures Report
Ridership Up in 2005
TRANSIT USE UP 25% OVER THE PAST DECADE; OUTPACES GROWTH IN VMT
A report released by the American Public Transportation Association last week showed that more than 9.7 billion trips were made on U.S. public transportation systems in 2005, representing a 1.3 percent increase over 2004. The study also found that over the last ten years, public transportation use increased 25.1 percent compared to a 22.5 percent increase in highway vehicle miles traveled during the same period. The report found that light rail, including modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys, had the highest percentage of increase among all modes, registering a 6.0 percent increase in 2005. Some communities saw dramatic increases in ridership posting double digit percentage increases. The ridership news comes on the heels of a U.S. Department of Energy forecast predicting new spikes in gas prices this summer. ATPA data found ridership increases last year in the wake of rapidly rising prices. These increases have largely been sustained even as price increases eased. CFTE is prepared a new public transportation 'myth vs. fact' report series. The first issue, due later this month, will focus on ridership issues. Watch the CFTE website for more details.
Read the report.
TABOR Measures Return to Ballots
BALLOT MEASURES THREATEN TRANSIT, OTHER PROGRAMS IN TEN STATES
Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) measures are constitutional amendments that restrict state government revenue and expenditure growth to the sum of inflation and population growth. Voter approval is typically required to override the caps. TABOR amendments are usually promoted by anti-tax advocates. TABOR measures can have dramatic and disastrous effects on the ability of states and communities to deal with transportation and other infrastructure investment.
Colorado began the first, and remains the only, state to adopt a TABOR amendment. Despite its robust growth and relatively high per capita income, Colorado now ranks 35th in transportation funding, 6th worst in the nation on highway and transportation maintenance, and received a 'D+' from the American Society of Civil Engineers for the shape of its infrastructure. The effects of TABOR were so significant voters in Colorado last year voted to life the caps for five years in order to catch up on needed investment.
In spite of TABOR impacts in Colorado, activists in several states are pushing TABOR ballot measures in 2006. Three states already have TABOR measures that have qualified for the November ballot:Maine,Oklahoma and Ohio. Other states have measures attempting to qualify for the ballot. These states includeArizona,Michigan,Missouri,Nevada,Oregon,Montana, and Wisconsin. TABOR legislation has also been introduced in a number of states.
Check out the latest '06 ballot news.
The Ballot Initiatives Strategy Center monitors TABOR and other measures.
Push is On for Transit Funding in Pennsylvania
GRASSROOTS GROUPS MOBILIZE FOR DEDICATED FUNDING
Last year Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) established a Transportation Funding and Reform Commission by executive order. The commission's charge was to examine the "structural imbalance" in funding for public transportation. The commission is in the process of holding hearings across the state and must produce a report containing recommendations addressing a wide range of transportation funding issues. The report, due in November to the Governor and General Assembly, will recommend specific funding sources and amounts.
Grassroots organizations across the commonwealth are mobilizing to urge the commission to endorse a permanent and reliable funding source for public transportation and new policies that focus on maintaining existing transportation infrastructure and favor investments to improve mobility and reduce congestion on the existing network versus building new roadways. The coalition is working to bring together a diverse array of interests in support of more reliable, balanced funding.
Read recent transportation headlines.
Find public transportation supporters in your state.
Administration Says Highway Trust Fund is Headed into the Red
CONGRESS TOLD FUND DEPLETING FASTER THAN ORIGINAL ESTIMATES
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing last week to discuss the Highway Trust Fund Revenue Estimates. When Congress passed SAFETEA LU last summer it was done with the expectation that the guaranteed funding levels prescribed in the bill would be honored for fiscal year 2005 through fiscal year 2009. The Administration is now estimating that the Highway Trust Fund will have a negative cash balance of $2.3 billion at the end of fiscal year 2009. CBO believes the balance, currently at $11 billion, will decline over the next three years, leading to its exhaustion by the end of 2010.
Get more infomation in CFTE's research trends section.
Trends in Transportation Ballot Measure Report
REPORT TAKES COMPREHENSIVE LOOK AT ELECTORAL, FISCAL TRENDS
The Center for Transportation Excellence is preparing a new research report on ballot measures related to public transportation. The report will examine the recent history of these ballot initiatives and referenda. In addition, the report will look at and quantify a variety of key measures related to finance mechanisms used in ballot measures. The report will discuss factors related to ballot measure success and detail the growth in local support and voter-approved financing for public transportation.
CFTE is currently compiling information on past measures. In effort to ensure that the report is as comprehensive as possible, CFTE encourages transit agencies and other regional partners on transit initiatives to send information regarding all transportation ballot initiatives/referenda in their region from 2000 - 2006.
All information can be sent to info@CFTE.org
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