News & Media
Vol. 4, No. 12October 12, 2006
In This Issue …
- Election Preview
- Ridership Continues to Increase Even as Gas Prices Fall
- Salt Lake Voters Support Increased Funding for Transportation
- Property Rights Initiatives Threaten Transportation
- FTA Issued Guidance on Coordinated Human Services Plans
- 2007 Transit Initiatives Conference Heads to the Lone Star State
OVER 30 TRANSPORTATION MEASURES WILL APPEAR ON BALLOTS
With Elections a little less then 4 weeks away, transit campaigns are in full swing. CFTE is following the progress of 30 transit related ballot measures in regions across the country. As the campaigns move into full gear, CFTE will be highlighting some of the key strategies used by various campaigns.
Orange County , California - Renew Measure M Campaign
This is a measure to extend a half-cent sales tax that would raise $11.9 billion for Orange County transportation projects.Key Strategy:The Renew Measure M Campaign is implementing a direct mail campaign to targeted districts. They have not made a final decision on whether they will run television advertisements in the weeks before the elections.
Minnesota Statewide -Minnesotans For Better Roads and Transit -Vote YES
Voters will be asked to decide if they want a constitutional amendment to dedicate all the revenue from the existing sales tax on new and used vehicles to roads and public transportation.
Key Strategy: The VOTE YES campaign organizers have been traveling the state talking with Minnesotans at community events, festivals and meetings. They have kicked off statewide grassroots and media campaign to encourage Minnesotans to VOTE YES on the amendment. The main message is that a "yes" vote will get people moving faster and safer in every part of the state.
Salt Lake County , Utah - Vote for #3
If the measure passes, Salt Lake County will raise about $50 million annually with the new tax. A quarter of those revenues would be earmarked for buying land for major highway projects, most likely the planned west-side Mountain View Corridor. The other 75 percent of the new tax revenues would be spent on transit or roads.
Key Strategy:A citizen-driven public awareness campaign is under way to ensure that voters know that this is a vote to keep Utah moving. Meanwhile, local elected leaders are making the rounds in the business community, service clubs and other organizations to voice their support of the tax and the reasoning behind it. Next week, they plan to launch several radio and television ad
Broward County , FL - People for Progress Campaign
The ballot measure calls for the sales tax to increase to 7 cents in January from the current 6 cents. if approved penny sales tax is estimated to generate $260 million, per year for transportation projects.
Key Message: Approving this measure is the only way to avoid total gridlock on roads, considering an extra 600,000 people are expected to live in Broward by 2030.
Check back often for regular news and election updates at www.cfte.org
Ridership Continues to Increase Even as Gas Prices Fall
COMMUNTIES HAVE MORE TRANSIT OPTIONS
In late September, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released ridership data for the first half of 2006 and the data is striking. Public transportation ridership has increased by 3.2% in the first six months of 2006, as Americans took nearly 5 billion trips on public transit. This is more than double the increase in the first half of 2005.Light rail (modern light rail, streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) had the highest percentage of ridership growth among all modes of transportation, with a 9.4% increase. Some of the areas reporting the highest increases in light rail ridership opened new services over the past year. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority of San Jose, CA showed the largest increase at 33%.
Though most reports attribute the increase in ridership to congestion and the rising gas prices, it should also be noted that communities across the country have an increasing number of transit options. Over just the last five years, communities in 33 different states have approved more than $70 billion in new transportation investment, much of it for public transportation. CFTE recently released a report entitled Transportation Finance at the Ballot Box: Voters Support Increased Investment & Choice which highlights this trend in support of increased investment for transportation.
View the entire list of ballot measures
Salt Lake Voters Support Increased Funding for Transportation
UTAH LEGISLATURE SWAPS BALLOT LANGUAGE
Utah and Salt Lake Counties have November ballots proposals to boost sales tax by a quarter-cent to pay for mass transit and highways. But only Salt Lake County is asking voters to approve a measure the Legislature passed in a special session Sept. 19.The measure approved by the Legislature allowed the sales tax measure to replace a property tax proposal that would have committed $895 million to build four TRAX light-rail lines that would connect West Jordan, South Jordan, West Valley City, Draper and Salt Lake City International Airport with the light-rail line that parallels Interstate Now voters decide whether they will raise sales taxes by a quarter-cent, bringing the portion dedicated to transit to three-quarters of a cent and expected to raise about $50 Million. In a recent poll conducted by Desert Morning News/KSL-TV voters support this proposal 2-to-1 in spite of the fact that they have not seen a final list of projects that will be funded.
Utah County also has a sales tax increase measure on its Nov. 7 ballot. But it's not the same one Salt Lake County voters will consider. Instead, it is the so-called Alexander tax named after. If voters approved, the tax would generate an estimated $765 million with most of those funds allocated for construction and early operation and maintenance of a 22 1/2-mile commuter rail line from Provo north to the Salt Lake County border
Read more Election news.
Property Rights Initiatives Threaten Transportation
BALLOT MEASURES IN WESTERN STATES MAY COST TRANSIT
Six states in the Western U.S. have initiatives qualified for the November ballot focused on property rights issues. The measures appear at first to focus simply on reform of eminent domain. However, on closer examination the ballot initiatives include provisions known as regulatory takings that require compensation for any regulatory action that diminishes property values. The takings language is modeled on Oregon 's Measure 37 adopted in 2004. Ballot measure opponents characterize the language as a "Trojan Horse" strategy designed to use public concern over eminent domain to secure passage of more radical takings provisions.
The takings language on ballots in Arizona , California , Idaho , Montana and Washington (takings provisions in the Nevada measure were struck down by the State Supreme Court), may have dramatic impacts on transportation projects and funding. Takings provisions significantly expand the costs for a wide array of infrastructure projects and related land use rules. In California alone the costs of the proposed initiative are projected in the billions of dollars annually.
An independent study of the potential costs to taxpayers of California 's Proposition 90 found that by increasing the cost of public works, like schools, roads, water systems, flood protection and utility services, Prop. 90 would curtail infrastructure development. The state transportation agency, CalTrans, is projecting that Proposition 90 will lead to more than $180 million in project schedule delay costs over the next seven years, and another $43 million per year in added litigation-related expenses -- without even considering the higher property acquisition costs that the measure will require the agency to pay for highway improvements.
Read more tranpsortation news.
FTA Issued Guidance on Coordinated Human Services Plans
THE PROPOSAL RECOGNIZES THE NEED FOR FLEXIBILITY IN THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a notice of proposed guidance regarding how the new coordinated public transit plans should be implemented. The Safe Accountable Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) required that projects selected for funding be derived from a coordinated public transit-human services plan. This notice includes interim guidance for 2006 and proposed guidance for FY2007 created based on the statute as well as issues raised and commented on during the first comment period ending in March 2006. In the first round, a number of commenters requested a phase-in approach noting that the development of a coordinated plan could be timely. FTA has responded by laying out the minimum criteria for FY 2007. Comments for must be submitted by November 6, 2006.
For additional information and instructions on submitting comments visit the DOT website. The docket number is FTA-2006-24037.
2007 Transit Initiatives Conference Heads to the Lone Star State
SAVE THE DATE!
Austin , Texas -June 10 -12, 2007