Special 2004 Ballot Initiatives Report

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  • 1. Special 2004 Ballot Initiatives Report Voters Support $28 Billion In Transportation Funding Ballot Initiatives Large Increase in Number of Transportation Ballot Measures Most voters asked at the ballot box November 2 whether they would support increasing their tax burden to fund transportation improvements said “yes.” In total, the revenue measures approved would generate at least $28 billion in new revenue for transportation infrastructure work. Reflecting growing transportation infrastructure demands across the nation, Americans in 21 states voted on at least 55 transportation funding-related ballot initiatives in this year’s election. This was nearly a 40 percent increase over the number of such ballot questions decided in 2002. Of the 55 ballot measures, 46—over 80 percent—asked voters to initiate, extend, or increase taxes to fund transportation improvements. Thirty-six—78 percent of the bond and tax measures—were approved. This included all 12 bond measures proposed to raise capital for transportation projects. Voters in eight states approved ten of 17 ballot measures that will levy a new tax dedicated to transportation programs. Approval to increase existing transportation-related taxes was given in five of seven ballot measures. Eight of ten measures to increase existing transportation funding mechanisms were also approved. And large majorities in two states—Missouri (79 percent) and California (84 percent)—told the state government to stop using highway user revenue to fund non-transportation programs or services. Following is a summary of these and other transportation measures decided November 2: Copyright 2004: American Road Transportation Builders Association, Page 1
  • 2. State Location/County Type of Change Mode How It Relates to Transportation Vote % Yes % No Arkansas Statewide Bond Roads Voters were asked to approve a $500 million bond to be allocated to various economic development projects, including transportation improvements. Approved 61% 39% California San Francisco/East Bay Area Bond Measure, subsequent property tax increase Transit system maintenance Voters were asked to approve a $980 million general obligation bond measure to fund shoring up the BART system against a major earthquake. Voters narrowly defeated a similar measure two years ago. The bond will raise property taxes for 40 years in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties to pay for the measure. The average increase is about $7.04 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. Approved - 2/3 approval required 68% 32% Florida Miami-Dade County Bond Issue Bridges, public infrastructure Voters were asked to approve eight separate ballot questions for bonds worth $2.93 billion. Each ballot question was for a different project category, one of which was bridges, public infrastructure and neighborhood improvement projects. This bond issue will be for $352 million. Approved 55% 31% Louisiana City of New Orleans Bond Issue Roads The $260 million bond request will fund various city improvements, including streets. Approved 66% 34% Maryland Prince George's County Bond Issue Roads & Bridges Voters were asked to approve a bond issue not to exceed $55.9 million for public works and transportation facilities projects, including work on roads and bridges. Approved 86% 14% New Mexico Albuquerque Bond Issue Roads Voters were asked to approve a bond for $52.5 million in street projects. Approved 61% 39% Ohio Columbus City (Fairfield County) Bond Issue Roads & Bridges Voters were asked to approve up to $605 million of bonds to pay for capital improvement projects, including roads and bridges. Approved 63% 37% Rhode Island Statewide Bond Issue Transportation improvements Voters were asked to approve $66.5 million in bonds for transportation improvements. The bulk of the money will be used as matching funds for federal transportation projects. Approved 66% 44% Texas Corpus Christi Bond Issue Roads Proposition 1 asked voters to approve a $68.4 million bond for street improvements. Approved 69% 30% Virginia Fairfax County Bond Issue Roads & Transit Residents voted on more than $300 million worth of bonds for a variety of projects, including road construction and improvement. An estimated $110 million of the bonds will go to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for infrastructure renewal, improved system access and system expansion. Approved 76% 24% Virginia Arlington County Bond Issue Transportation improvements Voters were asked to approve a general obligation bond issue of $35.9 million for a variety of projects, including transportation initiatives. Voters were also asked if the county should issue bonds to finance the cost of construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of Metro facilities by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Approved 81% 19% Virginia Chesterfield County Bond Issue Transportation improvements Area voters decided on five separate ballot questions issuing bonds worth a total of $341.7 million. The money authorized would be used for a variety of projects, including road improvements. Approved 82% 18% State Location/County Type of Change Mode How It Relates to Transportation Vote % Yes % No California Marin County New Transportation Sales Tax Roads & Transit Marin county residents voted on Measure A, a .5 percent transportation sales tax which will generate about $14 million annually for bus service, the Highway 101 widening, local road improvements and other local transportation needs over the next 20 years. An increase will boost the county sales tax from 7.25 to 7.75 percent, and raise approximately $311 million. This will be the third transportation related tax in the county. Approved 71% 29% California Solano County New Transportation Sales Tax Roads & Transit The proposed tax would have raised $1.4 billion over 30 years for transportation projects. Defeated -Two- thirds approval needed 64% 35% State and Local Transportation Bond Measures on November 2, 2004 Ballots New Tax Levies: Voters approved ten of 17 measures introducing new taxes for transportation funding. The main type of tax approved was a transportation sales tax, although voters also approved a property tax in Lexington, Kentucky for their LexTran system, and a special local option tax in Georgia for Richmond County roads. State and Local New Tax Levies for Transportation on November 2, 2004 Ballots Bond Issues: Ten local areas and two states asked voters to approve bond issues for transportation funding. All 12 of the general issue bond measures on the November 2004 ballots were approved. On average, the measures were approved by 70 percent of voters. Copyright 2004: American Road Transportation Builders Association, Page 2
  • 3. California Sonoma County New Transportation Sales Tax Roads & Transit The quarter-cent sales tax increase in Measure M will raise an estimated $478 million over 20 years for various transportation projects-mainly roads and highways. This is the fourth time in six years that Sonoma County voters were asked to raise sales taxes for roads, highways and transit. All three past measures were defeated. Approved - 2/3 approval required 67% 33% California Ventura County New Transportation Sales Tax Roads & Transit A half-cent sales tax initiative would have funded transportation projects, raising $1.44 billion over 30 years. Defeated -Two- thirds approval needed 40% 60% Colorado Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, portion of Eagle County (RFTA lower-valley area- results from Eagle County Elections) New Transportation Sales Tax Transit The measure asked voters to approve a sales tax increase in the towns and counties in upper portion of the Roaring Force Valley (RFTA) to support the area Transportation Authority, which is facing a 50% service cut for the second time in four years. The question was approval of a 0.2 percent sales tax increase for RFTA. The election results from the areas are cumulative - even if one area rejects the initiative, but it passes in the other jurisdictions, the new tax will apply. Approved 68% 32% Colorado Garfield County New Transportation Sales Tax Transit Voters were asked if they want to join RFTA and increase the transportation sales tax by 0.6 percent. Of that increase, 0.4 cents would have been dedicated to RFTA and 0.2 percent would have gone to Garfield County's transportation and trails projects. Defeated 39% 61% Colorado Town of Silt New Transportation Sales Tax Transit Voters were asked if they want to join RFTA and contribute a 0.4 percent sales tax to the group. Defeated not available not available Colorado Town of New Castle New Transportation Sales Tax Transit Voters were asked if they want to join RFTA and contribute a 0.4 percent sales tax to the group. Approved not available not available Colorado El Paso County New Transportation Sales Tax Roads & Transit Voters were asked to approve the creation and funding of "The Rural Transportation Authority." Revenue will be generated through a 1-cent sales tax increase, with .55 cents of the tax expiring after 10 years. Fifty-five percent of the funding is for road construction, 35 percent for maintenance and 10 percent for transit. Approved 55% 45% Georgia Richmond County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Roads The SPLOST will raise $468 million for various projects in Richmond County, including several road projects. Other projects include expanding the county jail, building a performing arts center and upgrading parts of the city's sewage and water system. Approved 62% 38% Georgia Rockdale County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Roads The SPLOST is expected to raise $99.6 million over six years, with approximately $50 million for roads, streets and bridges. A similar proposal was rejected in 2003. Approved 60% 40% Kentucky Lexington Property tax Transit LexTran will use a property tax to raise $5.9 million for necessary service expansions. Approved 54% 46% Michigan Kalamazoo Transportation Property Tax Renewal Transit Voters approved a 1-mill property tax renewal for Metro Transit. The levy will raise an estimated $1.56 million. Approved 68% 32% Nevada Pahrump Valley, Nye County New tax on new construction Roads Voters were asked to approve the creation of a regional transportation district. A one-time tax of $650 would have been imposed on each new home. A tax of 65-cents per square foot would be levied on new commercial or industrial developments. The revenue would have been used exclusively in Pahrump value for road projects. Defeated 35% 65% Oregon Deschutes County New Transportation Property Tax Transit Voters were asked to approve an independent transit district funded in part by a new property tax of 29 cents per $1,000 assessed value. The measure would have raised an estimated $1.7 million in FY 2005-06 Defeated 41% 53% South Carolina Charleston County New Transportation Sales Tax Roads & Transit The half-cent sales tax will raise an estimated $1.3 billion over the next 25 years for infrastructure projects and the public transportation system. Supporters of the tax say it was a "life or death issue" for the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority, which has been forced to sell property and lay off drivers to stay afloat. A similar tax was defeated by a thin margin in the 2000 election, and barely passed in 2002, but never took effect because the state Supreme Court said the ballot language was flawed. Approved 59% 41% South Carolina Beaufort County New Transportation Sales Tax Transportation improvements The defeated 1 percent Capital Project Sales Tax would have been limited to five years or $122 million, whichever comes first. The revenue would have been used for transportation projects and improvements. Defeated 50% 50% Copyright 2004: American Road Transportation Builders Association, Page 3
  • 4. State Location/County Type of Change Mode How It Relates to Transportation Vote % Yes % No Arizona Maricopa County Transportation Sales Tax Extension Roads & Transit Voters were asked to approve Proposition 400, a one-half cent sales tax extension that will last for 20 years and a $16 billion regional transportation plan, which includes funding for Phoenix's light rail system, freeways and other transit improvements. The vote was originally scheduled for May 2004, but was pushed back to the November 2004 ballot. The sales tax extension will generate $8.5 billion of the total $16 billion for the plan. Approved 57% 42% California Contra Costa County Transportation Sales Tax Extension Roads & Transit Approval of Measure J will extend the current Measure C, which is a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects. The extension of the tax will raise $2 billion for county transportation projects over a 25-year period. Approved - 2/3 approval required 71% 30% California Sacramento County Transportation Sales Tax Extension Roads & Transit Sacramento County voters were asked to approve an extension of the current "Measure A," set to expire in 2009. The proposed half-cent sales tax measure extension will raise an estimated $4.7 billion over the next 30 years for a variety of transportation uses in the county. According to a preliminary proposal, projects funded by that money will include basic street maintenance; new light-rail lines; new freeway interchanges; expansion of numerous roads; maintenance of the American River Parkway; buses for seniors and people with disabilities; and traffic safety programs, such as synchronized traffic signals. Approved - 2/3 approval required 75% 25% California San Bernardino County Transportation Sales Tax Extension Roads & Transit Voters were asked to extend the current "Measure I," set to expire in 2010, for an additional 30 years to 2040. The extension of the half-cent sales tax will generate approximately $6.1 billion over the 30-year period. The money will be used for road and transit projects. Approved - 2/3 approval required 79% 21% California San Diego County Transportation Sales Tax Extension Roads & Transit The San Diego regional planning agency, SANDAG, has a draft expenditure that includes the extension of a half-cent transportation sales tax (Proposition A) for transit and highway projections. The current tax is set to expire in 2008. The extension would provide funding through 2048. Under SANDAG's proposal, 33 percent of the tax's revenue would be spent on local street and road projects, 32.7 percent on freeways and highways, and 34.2 percent on mass transit. Approved - 2/3 approval required 67% 33% California San Mateo County Transportation Sales Tax Extension Roads & Transit Voters decided to reauthorize Measure A, a half-cent transportation sales tax. The measure will generate approximately $1.5 billion over 25 years. Transit projects will receive 30 percent of the funds. Approved - 2/3 approval required 75% 25% Colorado Aspen, Snowmass Village, Pitkin County (RFTA upper-valley area) Redirecting existing transportation sales tax Transit Residents of Aspen, Snowmass Village and Pitkin County were asked if an additional 0.165 percent of the county's existing 0.5 percent transportation sales tax can be dedicated to RFTA. Approved 67% 34% Colorado Glenwood Springs Extend Local Sales tax Roads Voters were asked to extend a 1/4-cent sales tax increase earmarked for city street improvements, along with an additional 1/4-cent sales tax to go toward generating an impact study for certain projects. The two taxes will generate about $1.8 million per year and will be in effect until 2025. A companion initiative asked voters to allow the city to borrow from these anticipated revenues by bonding up to $12 million with a maximum repayment cost of up to $22.5 million. Approved 51% 49% Minnesota City of St. Joseph Extend Local Sales tax Roads & Bridges Voters were asked to extend a local sales tax to pay for various improvements, including $20 million for transportation improvements. Approved 71% 29% Minnesota City of St. Cloud Extend Local Sales tax Airport Improvements Voters were asked to extend a local sales tax to pay for various improvements, including $5 million for improvements to St. Could Regional airport. Approved 63% 37% Extend or Alter Current Taxes for Transportation: Voters in ten counties and cities approved extensions of current transportation and local sales taxes for transportation construction and improvements. The cities of St. Cloud and St. Joseph, Minnesota, approved $5 and $20 million for airport and transportation improvements, respectively. Five of the ten extension measures were for counties in California, and required two-thirds approval for passage. Of the ten measures, ten passed. State and Local Transportation Tax Extension Measures on November 2, 2004 Ballots Copyright 2004: American Road Transportation Builders Association, Page 4
  • 5. State Location/County Type of Change Mode How It Relates to Transportation Vote % Yes % No California Santa Cruz County Transportation Sales Tax Increase Roads & Transit Measure J asked voters to approve a half-cent sales tax increase intended to raise $577 million over 30 years for a variety of transportation projects. Two- thirds of the funds would have been earmarked for Highway 1. The rest would have gone toward improving local streets, expanding transportation for people with disabilities and senior citizens, creating a passenger rail station in Pajaro and building a coastal pedestrian and bike trail. Defeated 43% 57% Colorado Denver Metro Area Transportation Sales Tax Increase Transit, Commuter Rail Voters were asked in referendum 4A to approve a 0.4-cent increase in the metro transit sales tax, currently at 0.6 cents, to enact a transit expansion plan called FasTracks. The $4.7 billion plan calls for construction of new light-rail or commuter-rail lines from central Denver to Lakewood/Golden, Arvada, Boulder/ Longmont, north Adams County and Denver International Airport, as well as along I-225 in Aurora. According to the Rocky Mountain News, "Seven years ago, the Regional Transportation District was defeated at the polls when voters turned down the same sales tax increase - a 0.4-cent increase on the current 0.6-cent rate, to a full penny on the dollar." Approved 65% 35% Georgia Fayette County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Roads Voters were asked to approve a 1 cent sales tax increase to fund transportation improvements. The goal is to raise enough local money to get federal funds for projects. The SPLOST is expected to raise between $106 and $115 million. Approved 51% 49% Ohio Monroe City (Warren County) Increase local income tax Roads The increase of the local income tax from 1 to 1.5 percent would have provided additional funds for "general municipal operations, maintenance of equipment, new equipment, extension, enlargement and improvement of municipal services and facilities and capital improvements." The Mayor indicated that capital projects included road construction. Defeated 15% 86% Texas San Antonio Transportation Sales Tax Increase Roads & Transit A 1/4-cent increase in the sales tax will help fund area transit and roadway projects. The tax will never expire. The chairman of VIA (the San Antonio metropolitan transit authority) said the extra revenue was critical to pay for service upgrades and prevent VIA from further eliminating bus routes. A portion of the funds will go towards the Advanced Transportation District for road upgrades, fixing potholes, and projects to ease freeway congestion. Approved 58% 41% Washington Clark County Transportation Sales Tax Increase Transit Voters were asked to approve a plan to double the 0.3 percent transit sales tax that currently exists to prevent deep cuts in bus service. C-Tran lost $12 million in annual operating funds (40 percent of its budget) when voters approved Initiative 695 in 1999, which limited car tabs to $30. The tax increase will cost the average family an additional $34 a year. Without approval of the measure, C-Tran would have been forced to cut 14 routes. Defeated 54% 46% Washington City of Auburn Property Tax Increase Roads The Auburn City Council put a measure on the ballot asking voters to allow the city to collect up to 2 percent more each year in property taxes for road repairs. Approved 60% 40% State Location/County Type of Change Mode How It Relates to Transportation Vote % Yes % No California Statewide Protect Local Government Revenue Proposition 1A protects local governments from future raids on their revenues to balance the state budget. The measure will constitutionally lock in levels as well as sources of funding to cities, counties and special districts. The state will not be able to reroute local funds from sources such as property taxes or vehicle license fees. Approved 84% 16% Missouri Statewide Protect Transportation Revenue Roads & Transit Voters decided to amend the Missouri Constitution to end or reduce what they describe as the "diversion" of highway user fees - vehicle and driver's licenses, motor fuel taxes and vehicle sales taxes - to various state agencies. Last year, Missouri collected more than $1.3 billion in road-related taxes and fees. About $255 million of that went to cities and counties for local roads, while about $164 million went to general state revenue and school funds. And $176 million went to state agencies that perform road-related duties. Following all the subtractions, the Missouri Department of Transportation received barely 55 cents of every $1 collected in state highway user fees and taxes. Approved 79% 21% Diversion of Highway User Revenue: State Initiatives Regarding Division of Highway User Revenues on November 2, 2004 Ballots Measures to Increase Existing Taxes for Highway Revenue on November 2, 2004 Ballots Increase Existing Taxes for Highway Revenue: Copyright 2004: American Road Transportation Builders Association, Page 5
  • 6. State Location/County Type of Change Mode How It Relates to Transportation Vote % Yes % No Florida Statewide Repeal High-speed rail This amendment repeals a previous amendment in the Florida Constitution (approved by a ballot measure in 2000) that requires the Legislature, the Cabinet and the Governor to proceed with the development and operation of a high speed ground transportation system by the state and/or by a private entity. Approved 64% 36% Washington Seattle Monorail recall Transit The Seattle City Council agreed to put a measure on the November ballot calling for what would basically amount to the end of the monorail initiative that voters approved in 2002. Specifically, Initiative 83 would ban city permits for the 14-mile, $1.75 billion Green Line through the western half of the city. However, Initiative 83 does not end the 1.4 percent car tax that supports the building of the 14-mile system. Backers of the initiative said they will address that issue if the measure passes. Defeated 46% 54% State Location/County Type of Change Mode How It Relates to Transportation Vote % Yes % No California Napa Valley Advisory vote on future widening of major county road. Roads Measure W serves as an advisory vote to transportation planners about widening Jamieson Canyon Road at a future date. The vote has no actual legal effect. Approved 78% 22% Nevada Elko County Advisory Vote - Increase Gas Tax Roads Elko County residents voted on an advisory measure to increase the area gas tax by 5-cents per gallon for the maintenance of regional roads. Final action on a gas tax increase must come from county commissioners. Defeated 17% 81% Texas Austin Approval of Commuter Line Transit Voters were asked to approve a commuter rail starter line that would run on existing track owned by Capital Metro. Voters narrowly rejected an initiative for a light rail plan in 2000. (According to a news article published by the Texas Transit Association: "Austin's roads were the most congested in the nation in 2001 when compared with those of other medium-size cities, according to a 2003 Urban Mobility Study by the Texas Transportation Institute." Approved 62% 37% Washington King County Advisory vote Roads and transit The Metropolitan King County Council had two advisory questions on the November 2 ballot. The first asked voters if they support developing a package of congestion-relief and safety projects to be placed on the November 2005 ballot. Approved 67% 33% Washington King County Advisory vote Roads and transit Voters were asked that if they approved of developing a package of congestion- relief and safety projects, how would they propose paying for it? Voters had the choice between a general sales tax (20.9% approval); a flat tax on motor vehicles (16.9%); an excise on vehicle value (25.8%); an increase in the local gas tax (20.1%) or a tax on annual miles (16.4%) (see above) Advisory and Other Measures Related to Transportation on November 2, 2004 Ballots Repeal of Previous Transportation Initiatives: Advisory Questions and Other Issues: Counties in three states asked voters their opinion of future transportation funding initiatives. King County voters in Washington approved a measure that asked if they would support a package of congestion-relief and safety projects on the November 2005 ballot. They also answered a second question on how they would like to pay for it. Voters had the choice between a general sales tax (20.9% approval); a flat tax on motor vehicles (16.9%); an excise on vehicle value (25.8%); an increase in the local gas tax (20.1%) or a tax on annual miles (16.4%). Voters in Elko County, Nevada defeated an advisory measure asking voters if they would recommend increasing the area gas tax by 5-cents per gallon. Measures To Repeal Previous Transportation Initiatives on November 2, 2004 Ballots Copyright 2004: American Road Transportation Builders Association, Page 6