News & Media
Vol. 10, No. 4November 01, 2012
In This Issue …
- Register Now for Post-Election Webinar!
- Election Day Outlook
- Anti-Transit Activists Making Use of Ballot Box
- Transit Campaigns on the Web & Social Media
- Two Downtown Streetcar Measures Round Out 2012 Elections
Register Now for Post-Election Webinar!
The Center for Transportation Excellence and the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates will be hosting a post-election discussion of this year’s transit ballot measures on Thursday, November 8. We will cover all the wins and losses, innovative financing choices, campaign highlights and latest trends.
2012 Transit Elections: Results and Trends
Thursday, November 8 at 2:00pm ET
Election Day Outlook:
Transit on the Ballot in 12 States
Heading into Election Day 2012, transit ballot measures have an 85% success rate for the year. This is significantly above the average success rate of 70% over the period of 2000-2011, and it bodes well for the major transit investment questions going before voters next week. With at least 19 transit-related measures on the ballot in 12 states on Tuesday, it is in the hands of voters to authorize billions of dollars in local transit investment over the next few decades!
Twelve measures relate directly to finance and seven additional ones will affect the way transit is implemented in the future. Some key measures to watch include:
Alameda County, CA—Measure B1 is a half-cent sales tax extension and additional half-cent increase designed to raise $7.8 billion over 30 years for transit, roads, bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Los Angeles County, CA—Measure J is a 30-year extension of a half-cent sales tax. The original tax, Measure R, was first approved by voters in 2008 as a 30-year tax. If Measure J is approved the final expiration date would be extended from 2039 to 2069.
Orange County, NC—This referendum is a half-cent sales tax increase for new and expanded transit investment. Revenue will go towards increased bus service, BRT, light rail and a new Amtrak station.
Richland County, SC—Question 1 is a 1 cent sales tax increase for a variety of transportation projects including bus service, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and roadways.
Memphis, TN—The Memphis Charter Amendment Referendum asks voters to support the authorization of a 1 cent gas tax increase on all sales within the city to support public transportation. It could generate between $3 and $6 million annually.
Pierce County, WA—Proposition 1 is a 0.3 cent sales tax increase to restore bus service by Pierce Transit and prevent an additional 53% service cut.
For information on all the other measures on ballots across the country on November 6, please visit our website.
Anti-Transit Activists Increasingly Making Use of the Ballot Box
One disconcerting trend this year is the use of ballot measures to thwart new transit investment or withdraw a community from participating in a regional transportation system altogether. Earlier this year, voters in Clackamas County and King City, OR approved two separate measures that would require future voter approval before any investment can be made in rail transit projects. A similar charter amendment is on the ballot next week in Tigard, OR.
Several communities in the Toledo, OH region are holding votes this year on whether to continue participation with the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority. Perrysburg approved a measure earlier this year to withdraw in favor of creating its own system—for which a property tax increase is on the ballot next Tuesday. Spencer Township and Sylvania Township are holding a vote on participation next week without a plan to provide alternative service for local residents.
The communities of Walker, MI and Falmouth, ME are also holding votes next week to withdraw from contracts with local transit providers.
More information on these measures is available on our website.
Transit Campaigns: Social Media & Educational Advocacy
Each year transit campaigns get savvier with voter outreach through social media. Transit agencies have also done an increasingly effective job of creating a web presence with educational materials, expenditure plans and investment details. The combined efforts of public agencies and coalition partners help to provide voters with a complete picture of how a transit ballot measure will impact and improve their community.
Pierce Transit in Pierce County, WA hosts a detailed webpage for Proposition 1, answering voter questions like “how will this affect me?” Although agencies are limited from spending on a “vote yes” campaign, they can help provide clarity and assurance to voters on the details of the measure and its implementation.
Alameda County, CA is going to voters with a sales tax extension and half-cent increase for a wide variety of transportation projects. The “Yes on Measure B1” campaign stays active on Twitter and Facebook engaging with local coalitions, media outlets and individual voters. The #YesOnB1 hashtag is used frequently by the campaign and supporters in the community to spread the message of support.
For links to more transit campaign sites, please visit our website.
Results from Two Downtown Streetcar Measures Expected in December
Voting on the final two measures of the year will get underway this month, but results from both mail-in ballots are not expected until early December. These measures are unique in that they only encompass special taxing districts that will be directly impacted by new streetcar lines.
The special tax district in Los Angeles includes about 7,000 registered voters, two-thirds of which must approve the measure for it to pass. The property tax increase could support up to $85 million in local funding for the four-mile downtown streetcar line. Ballots are being mailed mid-month and are due back by December 3.
In Kansas City, only 730 people in the Downtown Streetcar Transportation Development District have registered to vote on the 1 cent sales tax increase and special property assessments that will provide funding for a proposed two-mile streetcar line running down Main Street. Approximately $74 million in local funding needs to be generated to support the project. Ballots have already been mailed and are due back December 11.