Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voters Approve More than $75 Billion for Transportation

from the Center for Transportation Excellence:

Voters Approve More than $75 Billion for Transportation
74% of Transportation Measures Pass
Voters across the country have again signaled their support for transportation-related investment. On November 4, voters approved more than $75 billion in funding for transportation. There were 32 measures on ballots from Rhode Island to Hawaii and 14 states in between. More than 70% of measures were approved in favor of transportation, demonstrating the willingness of voters to invest in expanding choice, improving performance, and increasing competitiveness.
Since 2000, approximately 70% of all transportation measures have been approved, a rate double that of ballot measures generally. Of 23 approved measures, 14 increased sales taxes, 4 provided funding through property taxes and 3 authorized bonds. One measure, a one-eighth cent sales tax increase in Santa Clara Valley, California is still too close to call. In total, yesterday voters approved more than $75 billion in new investment for transportation. The continued success of transportation ballot measures is especially noteworthy this year considering the on-going economic challenges facing the nation.

Included in the 23 approved measures were the three largest measures on this November's ballot:

  • Los Angeles County, California: A 1/2 cent sales tax increase was approved to finance new and existing transportation projects, including highways, local roads and mass transit. The sales tax is expected to generate $40 billion over the next 30 years.

  • Seattle, Washington: Last year's "Roads and Transit" plan was defeated because of its size and cost. This year, voters approved a sales tax increase for Sound Transit's $17.8 billion plan to provide an additional 34 miles of light rail and expand bus service.

  • California, statewide: Voters approved a $9.9 billion bond to support construction of a high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Fifteen measures appeared on ballots in 8 states earlier in the year. Twelve of those measures were approved in favor of public transportation and will raise an estimated $40 million a year for local transit agencies in those regions. For the year, a total of 47 measures were considered with 35 receiving voter approval. 2008 has been among the most successful election cycles ever in terms of overall investment and percentage of approved measures.

A complete list of 2008 ballot initiatives is available at The Center for Transportation Excellence is a non-partisan research group based in Washington, D.C.