2012 Election Results Press Release

2012 Election Results Press Release


November 7, 2012

Contact: Jason Jordan 202.349.1037
               Allison Leach 202.349.1037


Transportation Measures Continue Trend of Success on Election Day
Coast-to-Coast, Voters Choose to Invest in Transit

On Election Day 2012, voters approved over two-thirds of proposed ballot measures supporting public transportation. These victories build on a strong record for transit-related ballot measures in 2012. Yesterday, a total of 21 measures with a significant transit component were considered by voters in 12 states from California to Maine. Thirteen measures were approved and two remain undecided as votes continue to be counted in Pierce County, WA, and Richland County, SC.

Transportation referendums rode a wave of success into Election Day with the approval of 33 measures earlier in 2012. With only four measures left to decide —two from yesterday and two elections pending in December—the success rate for 2012 stands at 79%. With the potential for additional victories this year, the approval rate for 2012 may top 80%. 2012 has seen the largest number of transit ballot measures since CFTE began tracking initiatives in 2000.

“This successful trend of passing transit measures demonstrates that public transportation is a vital and essential service that people want and need. Even with economic concerns still on everyone’s minds, voters decided to pass taxes, create bonding, or take other actions to improve or maintain public transportation,” said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.

The majority of transit ballot measures continue to be aimed at increasing investment. Fourteen of yesterday’s measures dealt directly with transportation finance, including seven sales taxes, five property taxes, one bond, and one gas tax.

Despite the record of success this year, yesterday’s elections did bring some losses. Two significant measures in California were defeated. However, both measures attracted strong majority support among voters but fell just short of California’s supermajority requirement for tax increases. Despite nearly 65% of voters approving Measure B1 in Alameda County and Measure J in Los Angeles County, both fell just short of the 66.67% hurdle. If these sales tax measures had been on the ballot in any other state in the nation they would easily have won.

Voters in three states rejected attempts to curtail local transit service. Communities in Michigan, Ohio and Maine considered measures to withdraw from established transit systems without providing citizens any alternatives. All four of these measures were roundly rejected.

Michigan voters continued to embrace property tax measures to support public transportation. Earlier this year, Michigan communities approved 27of these measures. On Election Day, four more property tax levies were approved by voters in the state.

In another closely watched race, Orange County, North Carolina approved a half-cent sales tax for transit. With the win, Orange County joins neighboring Durham County in investing in transit service and setting the stage for new rail investment in the Research Triangle area of the state.

CFTE will cover the individual races from Election Day and year-long trends in a webinar tomorrow at 2:00 pm ET. “2012 Transit Elections: Results & Trends” will be cosponsored by the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA). Free registration for this webinar is available at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/148318546.

The Center for Transportation Excellence is a non-partisan research group based in Washington, D.C.