News & Media
Vol. 4, No. 8June 12, 2006
In This Issue …
- Branson Missouri Approves a Sales Tax
- House Subcommittee Continues to Examine the Future of Infrastructure Finance
- Full Appropriations Committee Passes FY07 Transportation Treasury HUD Bill
- California Voters Turn Down Transportation Measures
Branson Missouri Approves a Sales Tax
THE ONE-CENT SALES TAX WILL FUND TROLLEYS AND OTHER TRANSIT
BRANSON, MO -- On June 6th, residents of a Community Improvement District established by downtown property owners approved a one-cent sales tax to fund a transportation system. A majority of the property owners in the Downtown Historic Main Street District had earlier voted to establish the CID , hoping to collect funds for trolleys or other transit modes to bring shoppers from the recently opened Branson Landing shopping center up a steep hill to the historic district. The vote will raise the retail sales tax within the district to 9.6 percent, equivalent to the sales tax rate within the $420 million lakefront Branson Landing project. That tax rate was established to help defray development costs in the lease between the city of Branson and HCW Development Co., developers of Branson Landing.
Election Results and Updates.
House Subcommittee Continues to Examine the Future of Infrastructure Finance
THE TRANSPORTATION FUND MAY NO LONGER PRODUCE SUFFICIENT REVENUE
In a hearing on June 7th the Subcommittee on Highways, Transit and Pipelines heard testimony from Federal Transit Agency officials and Federal Highway Administration officials. The hearing was intended to info rm the committee on the progress of the Administration's efforts to implement the recently enacted surface transportation program reauthorization, however the conversation quickly turned to the future of transportation and infrastructure funding. J. Richard Capka, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, stated in his prepared testimony that "As you know, we anticipate that traditional funding sources for highway programs, at all levels of government, may in the future no longer produce sufficient revenues to keep up with infrastructure needs. SAFETEA-LU established two commissions to address this issue. Secretary Mineta was designated Chairman of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission to explore options for the future direction of our surface transportation system and to review current methods of, and explore alternatives for, investing in and managing that system." Administrator Capka also discussed the Open Roads Financing Pilot Program that was proposed in the Presidents FY 07 budget. Funding for this program would assist up to five States to make practical tests of new ideas or ideas that have been successful in other countries for managing and charging for the use of major portions of their highway system. With rising gas prices and a congested transportation system, this debate will likely be heating up in the months to come.
Full Appropriations Committee Passes FY07 Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development Bill
THE BILL CUTS $3.7 BILLION FROM THE SUBCOMMITTEE'S BILL
On June 6th the Full House Appropriations Committee passed the FY07 Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development Bill at $64.1 billion over the subcommittee's strong objections. Just weeks earlier the subcommittee had approved $3.7 billion more in spending, in part to comply with requirements under the transportation reauthorization bill (SAFETEA-LU) to provide certain higher levels of funding for transportation programs. A number of current programs did not receive funding in the House FY07 bill including:
Section 108 loan guarantees
FTA Small Starts
Housing Counseling Assistance
National Defense Tank Vessel Construction Program
Open Roads Financing Pilot Program
This bill will now have to be reconciled with the Senate appropriations bill.
California Voters Turn Down Transportation Measures
LOW VOTER TURNOUT AND CALIFORNIA'S SUPER MAJORITY REQUIREMENT PLAY A ROLL IN TUESDAY'S OUTCOME
On June 6th, five of California 's Bay area counties placed transportation related ballot measures on the ballot. Due to a combination of low voter turnout and California 's super majority requirement (measures to raise taxes must be approved by over 66.6% in California ), these measures were not approved. Following is an overview of each of the elections. While this is a disappointing result for transportation supporters, it is important to remember that due to California 's stringent requirements for passage, these results cannot be compared to what is happening in other parts of the country.
Merced County : This measure would have [do we have more info ?] Even in the face of lackluster polling data, last minute opposition surfaced, focusing on the specter of urban sprawl and loss of agricultural land. Although a majority of voters supported the idea, the measure ultimately failed to meet the 2/3rds test. YES: 63.2; NO: 36.8
Monterey County : Voters considered a half cent sales tax that would have funded 14 different transportation plan projects, including rail and bus service. Although a majority of voters supported the idea, the measure ultimately failed as it needed 2/3rds to pass. YES: 56.6%; NO: 43.4%
Napa County : Voters considered whether to fund transportation improvements in the county with a half cent sales tax. The tax would generate $537 million over thirty years. Six percent of the revenue would be dedicated to transit.. Although it received a majority of votes, Measure H ultimately failed as it needed 2/3. YES: 52.4%; NO:47.6%
Santa Clara County: Measure A, which was drawn up as a general tax to support county social services and to fund the VTA BART project and other transportation priorities, required a simple majority vote. YES: 42.38%; NO:57.62%
Solano County : Voters considered a 30-year, half-cent sales tax increase. Nineteen percent of the total funding would have supported commuter and senior transit. The measure would have raised an estimated $1.57 billion. This measure needed 2/3 to pass and did not get a majority. YES: 45.5; NO:54.5