News & Media
Vol. 4, No. 11September 13, 2006
In This Issue …
- Public Transportation Ridership Continues to Increase
- November Ballot Box Update
- TRB Convenes Conference on Future of MPOs
- New Report Details State Funding for Public Transportation
- President Bush Call on Former Federal Highway Administrator
Public Transportation Ridership Continues to Increase
TRANSIT AGENCIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY REPORT GAINS
The American Public Transportation Association reported public transportation ridership in the United States grew by 4.25% in the first quarter of 2006. The strong growth in the first quarter comes on the heels of solid gains in 2005. Many observers attribute the strong growth in the use of public transportation to high fuel costs and on-going frustration with congestion on roadways.
A sampling of recent reports from transit agencies across the country highlights this trend:
• The Coaster set a ridership record last month, with 161,067 passengers boarding the commuter train, the most in its 11-year history.
• The New Mexico Park and Ride service recorded 290,000 riders in fiscal year 2006, a 23 percent increase over last year's 230,248 and a 70 percent increase from FY 2004's 170,403 riders. Park and Ride is a daily express bus service that includes routes between Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Los Alamos, and Santa Fe and Las Vegas (N.M.).
• New York’s MTA released data in August showing that during the past 10 years, the growth in mass transit ridership has outpaced population growth. The ridership peaked last spring with an average 4.9 million people passing through the turnstiles a day.
• In Louisville, KY the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) is reporting forecasting 800,000 more riders this fiscal year than last year, when 15.8 million people hitched a ride during the 12-month period.
CFTE has launched a new "transit myth and fact" series. The initial issue is focused on ridership.
November Ballot Box Update
TRANSPORTATION A HOT ISSUE FOR THE MID-TERM ELECTIONS
As we head into the November elections, the number of transportation related ballot measures appearing on ballots continues to rise. Already this year voters have considered 20 different transportation ballot measures. CFTE is current tracking over 25 measures appearing on ballots this November including these recent additions:
• Kansas City, MO - The proposed starter light-rail spine would begin at the zoo and go to the airport.
• Corinth City, TX – voter will decide if the city should join the Denton County Transportation Authority
• Bay Area, CA - Proposition 1A, known as Transportation Funding Protection, would close the loophole that allows state legislators to divert revenue from the gasoline sales tax to other state needs.
• Bay Area, CA - Proposition 1C would approve a $2.8 billion bond to fund development near transit and affordable housing projects.
• Holland, MI - Voters in Holland and Holland Township will be asked approve a tax to expand Macatawa Area Express bus service. If approved the 0.4 mills is projected to raise $973,000 annually for five years.
• Franklin County, OH - The Central Ohio Transit Authority's board has approved putting a 10-year, quarter-percent sales and use tax levy on the Franklin County ballot.
• King County, WA - The King County Commission has approved a new sales tax measure for the November ballot. The .1 cent increase would fund bus service. The levy would raise an estimated $50 million annually for transit.
View the entire list of ballot measures
TRB Convenes Conference on Future of MPOs
ATTENDEES FOCUS ON FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION FINANCE
In late August, the Transportation Research Board hosted a conference to consider the present and future of Metropolitan Planning Organizations. Among the many topics considered was the future of transportation finance. Participants expressed concerns about shrinking resources and increasing demand for system preservation, operation improvements and expansion. MPO and transportation leaders discussed the increasing use of non-traditional project funding and its implications for MPOs and transportation planning. CFTE presented findings from their most recent report “Transportation Finance at the Ballot Box: Voters Support Increased Investment,” which outlines the striking rise in the use of voter-approved ballot measures to generate funding for transportation choices. The report found that transportation ballot measures are increasingly used by state and local governments to fund projects and have had striking success with voters. Seventy percent of these measures have been approved since 2000.
Read the full report.
New Report Details State Funding for Public Transportation
STATES OUTPACE FEDS IN TRANSIT FUNDING IN 2005
The latest Survey of State Funding for Public Transportation was released this summer. The survey analyzes public transportation funding for every state. Among the report’s findings is that states provided $9.5 billion for transit in FY05 compared to $7.3 billion in federal spending. State spending has more than doubled since 1990. The most utilized source of state funding for transit continues to be the general fund. Fifteen states allow state gas taxes to support public transportation. Roughly half of all state funding was designated for transit operations while about one-fifth was for capital purposes only. The number of states not providing transit funding has decreased to four (AL, CO, HI, UT). Colorado has now passed legislation to allow public transportation funding.
Download the report.
President Bush Call on Former Federal Highway Administrator
MARY PETERS NOMINATED TO HEAD U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Last week Mary Peters was nominated by President George Bush to replace Norman Mineta as the secretary of transportation. Peters served from 2001 to 2005 as federal highway administrator. As highway administrator, Peters favored expanding the authority of states to toll motorists and supported a greater role of private-sector investment in highway construction. She also opposed raising the federal gasoline tax, which accounts for much of the government's contribution to state highway construction projects. Peters is currently a vice president at HDR, Inc. an engineering firm.
As transportation secretary, she will also have to address the politically difficult problems such as creating new funding sources for transportation systems
Read more tranpsortation news.