[Editor: This is the text of a November 9, 2016, news release from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.]
Voters Want Transportation Investment
Record Number of State and Local Ballot Measures Approved
(WASHINGTON) — Preliminary November 8 election results show voters in 22 states approved ballot measures that will provide $201 billion in funding extensions and new revenue for state and local transportation projects.
According to an analysis by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s “Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™” (ARTBA-TIAC), 69 percent of the 280 transportation funding ballot measures up for vote across the nation were approved, with results still pending for seven local areas.
California will see the biggest impact. Voters in the state approved 15 of 26 transportation ballot measures worth $133 billion, including a 1 cent sales tax in Los Angeles that will provide $120 billion over 40 years for local road, bridge and transit projects. The California measures had to muster at least a two-thirds “super majority” vote to pass—10 of the measures that failed received over 50 percent of the vote, but did not reach that threshold. California voters also rejected a statewide measure that would have required any public infrastructure bond over $2 billion to go on the ballot for voter approval.
Voters in Illinois and New Jersey passed transportation tax “lockbox” measures to prohibit state lawmakers from diverting transportation user fee revenue to non-transportation uses. Maine approved a statewide transportation bond issue for $100 million and Rhode Island voters approved $70 million in bonds for port investment.
In Washington state, voters approved a 25-year, $54 billion revenue package that would support expanding Sound Transit light rail and bus routes. The package included a bond issue and adjustments in property, sales and motor vehicle taxes.
In Missouri, a statewide initiative to increase the state’s cigarette tax to raise an estimated $100 million annually for transportation investments failed. Voters in Georgia approved local sales tax increases that would raise nearly $4 billion for road and transit projects in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
Earlier this year, voters approved 76 of 81 transportation funding measures — or 93 percent — of initiatives on primary ballots.
Overall, voters approved 74 percent of transportation ballot initiatives in 2016. This is in line with the 10-year average rate of 74 percent. In the last two presidential elections, voters approved 77 percent (2012) and 76 percent (2008) of transportation funding measures.
The complete report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at www.transportationinvestment.org.
Dr. Alison Premo Black