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Special 2010 Ballot Initiatives Report

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Special 2010 Ballot Initiatives Report

  1. 1.     2010 Ballot Initiative Report    Voters across the country approved eight state and local ballot initiatives worth over $376  million to increase funding for road, bridge or transit infrastructure investment on  November 2.  Of those initiatives, four measures approved bond issues, three increased  local vehicle fees and one initiative increased a local sales tax.         On average, voters approved the measures by a rate of 63 percent.  ARTBA tracked a total  of 27 transportation related measures, of which 13 initiatives called for increasing funding  for transportation investment through bonding, transfers or new tax revenues.        Some of the larger initiatives approved included a $120 million bond issue in Fairfax  County, Virginia, a $90 million transportation improvement package in Austin, Texas, and  $80 million in bonding for the state of Rhode Island.        Despite support from both gubernatorial candidates, voters did not pass a statewide  initiative in Alabama that would have transferred $1 billion over 10 years from the  Alabama Trust Fund, the state’s rainy day fund, for roads and bridges.  Critics said the  money would have been spread too thin across the 67 counties and did not focus on key  transportation needs in the state.  Voters also defeated four local initiatives that would  have raised either a sales tax or vehicle registration fees for transportation.        In addition to the 13 funding questions, there were an additional 14 initiatives related to  transportation diversions, funding cuts, or transit operations.   Voters in San Mateo County,  California, approved an amendment that would prohibit the state from raiding existing  funds that are allocated to local government for a variety of purposes, including  transportation, even during times of severe fiscal hardship.    A local initiative in Denver, Colorado, to reduce vehicle registration fees and vehicle sales  taxes, among other charges, was defeated 77 to 23 percent.      Results were mixed when voters were asked about increasing local taxes or issuing bonds  for transit service.  Five of these measures were defeated, three were approved, and two  sets of results have not yet been released.      In 2008 voters approved twenty‐five bond or tax measures (of 32 total) to raise $71 billion  in transportation investment with an average approval rating of 63 percent.  Of the 27 state  and local ballot initiatives in 2006 asking voters to increase revenue for transportation  infrastructure, 77 percent, valued at over $40 billion, were approved.  In 2004, voters  supported $28 billion for transportation investment through ballot initiatives.  Thirty‐six  initiatives—representing 78 percent of the bond and tax measures—were approved.    A full list of the 2010 initiatives and their outcomes is provided below.  
  2. 2. State Location Mode How It Relates to Transportation Type Funding Mechanism Amount at stake Result % Yes % No Alabama Statewide Roads & Bridges Voters are asked to approve an amendment to the Constitution to provide a total of $1 billion for a ten-year road, bridge and transportation related construction and improvement program. This investment would be funded with appropriations from the Alabama Trust Fund and would also transfer funds to the County and Municipal Government Capital Improvement Fund. Increase Funds Transfer $1 billion over 10 years Defeated 43% 57% California Local (Alameda Co.) Multimodal The Alameda County Congestion Management Agency board have decided to ask voters to approve a $10 vehicle fee on the November ballot. The fee increase is expected to raise $11 million a year, which would be split among city and county roads (60 percent), congestion relief measures (25 percent), transportation technology improvements (10 percent) and bicycle and pedestrian improvements (5 percent). Increase Funds Vehicle Fee $11 million annually Approved 62% 37% California Local (Contra Costa Co.) Roads & Bridges Contra Costa County voters are asked to support an increase of $10 to annual car registration fees. The Contra Costa Transportation Authority voted unanimously to place the $8.5 million measure on the ballot. The revenue would mostly be spent to maintain city and county roads. Increase Funds Vehicle Fee $8.5 million annually Defeated 45% 55% California Local (Marin Co.) Multimodal The board of the Transportation Authority of Marin has approved placing a measure on the November ballot to increase the vehicle registration fee by $10. This would raise more than $2 million annually for local transportation programs.The revenue will be divided with 40 percent of the new revenue will go for roads projects, 35 percent for transit and 25 percent for projects related to climate change and pollution. Increase Funds Vehicle Fee $2 million annually Approved 60% 40% California Local (San Francisco) Multimodal The San Francisco County Transportation Authority has approved a $10 vehicle registration fee increase for the November ballot. The measure would raise $5 million annually for congestion mitigation, road maintenance, transit improvements and pedestrian safety. Increase Funds Vehicle Fee $5 million annually Approved 62% 38% Florida Local (Polk Co.) Multimodal A plan on the Nov. 2 ballot would increase the county sales tax by 1 cent to pay for new roads, enhanced bus service and a light rail system. The new sales tax would apply to the first $5,000 of purchases and generate $184 million per year starting in 2011. Three-fourths of the money would be used to expand bus service and build a light rail system. The remaining one-fourth would be spent on roads. Increase Funds Sales Tax $1 Million annually Defeated 38% 62% Florida Local (Hillsborough Co.) Multimodal Voters will consider a 1-cent sales tax for transportation. 75% of the revenue would go to public transportation and 25% would go roads and other transportation projects. Increase Funds Sales Tax Defeated 58% 42% Maryland Local (Baltimore Co.) Multimodal This ordinance would authorize Baltimore County to borrow $68 million for public works, which would include streets and highways, bridges and storm drainage systems. Increase Funds Debt/Bond $68 million Approved 72% 28% State and Local Transportation Measures for November 2, 2010 Ballots Measures to Increase Funding For Road, Bridge & Transit Infrastructure Investment
  3. 3. State Location Mode How It Relates to Transportation Type Funding Mechanism Amount at stake Result % Yes % No Rhode Island Statewide Roads & Bridges The measure would allow the state to issue general obligation bonds to match federal funds to improve state highways, roads and bridges. The amount would not be able to exceed $80 million. Another $4.7 million would be used to buy and improve buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's bus fleet. Increase Funds Debt/Bond $80 million Approved 73% 27% South Carolina Local (Richland Co.) Multimodal Voters will be asked to approve a 1-cent transportation sales tax. Of the total revenue raised, 33% would go to fund the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, 61% would be for road improvements and 6% would go to bike/ped/greenspace projects. The tax would sunset in 25 years. Increase Funds Sales Tax Defeated 49% 51% Texas Local (Austin) Multimodal The City of Austin has scheduled a $90 million mobility bond. The proposed projects address city mobility issues, including investments in streets, sidewalks, bike paths, trails and transit infrastructure in all parts of Austin. Increase Funds Debt/Bond $90 Million Approved 55% 45% Virginia Local (Fairfax Co.) Multimodal Voters were ask to approve a bond issue for $120 million for transportation improvements in the county. Increase Funds Debt/Bond $120 million Approved 69% 31% Washington Local (Bellingham Co.) Multimodal Voters will be asked in November to raise the sales tax by 0.2 percent for transportation projects. The City Council has voted to create a citywide transportation benefit district. Then, acting as the district board, the council will consider asking voters for the sales tax increase that would be in effect for 10 years. The City Council still needs to vote one last time to create the district. It'll consider doing that on July 12. Increase Funds Sales Tax Approved 55% 45%
  4. 4. State Location Mode How It Relates to Transportation Type Funding Mechanism Amount at stake Result % Yes % No California Local (San Mateo) Roads & Bridges This ammendment, if approved, prohibits the state from raiding existing funds that are allocated to local government for several purposes, including transportation, even during times of severe fiscal hardship. Stop Diversion of Funding $1 Billion annually Approved 61% 39% Colorado Local (Denver) Multimodal Proposition 101 will let voters decide whether to lower the state income tax, to reduce vehicle registration fees to $10, to reduce vehicle sales taxes and to eliminate all taxes and fees on phones except for 911 service. Opponents say that passage would result in a direct revenue cut for local governments that rely on the tax money for general operations and to fund transportation, parks, housing and day care. Reduce Funds Reduce various fees Defeated 23% 77% Idaho Statewide Air The amendment would allow airports in the state to take on debt for endeavors that would improve facilities, equipment and acquisitions such as real property. Debts would have to be paid off using airport revenues instead of using taxpayer money. Debt Authority Debt/Bond Approved 55% 45% Louisiana Local (East Baton Rouge Parish) Transit The Capital Area Transit System board is seeking voter approval for a 3.5-mill property tax that would generate $10.8 million a year to support the bus system. It does not have a dedicated property tax millage or other revenue stream and has been struggling financially. If approved, it would nearly double the current $12.5 million budget of the Capital Area Transit System Increase Operating Funds Property Tax $10.8 million annually Defeated 45% 55% Michigan Local (Eaton Co.) Transit A measure identical to the failed August 3 measure will be back on the ballot this November. The proposal would replace the 0.2469 mill levy with an 0.75 mill tax levy for five years, from 2012 through 2016. The county Board of Commissioners voted to put this measure back on the ballot two weeks after the disappointing August election. Increase Operating Funds Property Tax Defeated 40% 60% Oregon Local (Portland Metro Area) Transit Voters will be asked to approve a $125 million bond for TriMet. Some of the funding would go to purchasing new buses to replace older models. Increase Operating Funds Debt/Bond $125 million Approved 51% 49% State and Local Transportation Measures for November 2, 2010 Ballots Measures Related to Transportation Funding
  5. 5. State Location Mode How It Relates to Transportation Type Funding Mechanism Amount at stake Result % Yes % No South Carolina Local (Horry Co.) Transit The referendum would ask voters if they support the county continuing to fund mass transportation. It would be advisory, which means council would not have to act on the vote. As of August, the approved ballot language is: "Do you favor the funding by Horry County, in an amount not to exceed 6/10ths of a mill ($1,080,000.00) annually, for the operations of a regional public mass transportation provider such as Coast RTA?" Transit Service $1 Million annually Defeated 36% 63% West Virginia Local (Bethleham) Transit Voters will be considering renewals of property tax levies to support the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority. West Virginia requires a supermajority to approve to pass levies. Increase Operating Funds Property Tax Approved 74% 26% West Virginia Local (McMechan) Transit Voters will be considering renewals of property tax levies to support the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority. West Virginia requires a supermajority to approve to pass levies. Increase Operating Funds Property Tax n/a West Virginia Local (Moundsville) Transit Voters will be considering renewals of property tax levies to support the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority. West Virginia requires a supermajority to approve to pass levies. Increase Operating Funds Property Tax Defeated 43% 57% West Virginia Local (Wheeling) Transit Voters will be considering renewals of property tax levies to support the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority. West Virginia requires a supermajority to approve to pass levies. Increase Operating Funds Property Tax Approved 76% 24% Wisconsin 53 of 71 counties Roads & Bridges More than 50 counties have agreed to place an advisory referendum on the November ballot, asking voters if the Wisconsin Constitution should be amended to prohibit any further transfers or lapses from the segregated transportation fund. Revenue in the segregated transportation fund comes from the state gas tax and vehicle registration fees. In recent years more than a billion dollars has been diverted from the transportation fund to shore up the general fund. Actually amending the state constitution would require action by two successive state legislature sessions and voter approval of a binding statewide referendum. Diverting Funds - Advisory Question n/a Wisconsin Local (Dane Co.) Transit An RTA sales tax increase measure will be on the November ballot in 42 different municipalities in Dane County. This measure will ask for a half-cent sales tax increase to further fund the Dane County Regional Transport Authority. This measure will not be given to a county wide vote since the RTA area does not cover the entire county. Increase Operating Funds Sales Tax Defeated 25% 75% Wisconsin Local (Kenosha Co.) Transit An effort to place a countywide advisory measure on the ballot in Kenosha County failed, but several municipalities within that county have decided to place a measure on the local ballot. The towns and villages of Bristol, Paddock Lake, Randall, Salem, Silver Lake, Twin Lake and Weatland will all ask voters if they would support a new tax to support transit. Increase Operating Funds New Tax Defeated 17% 70% Source: Intiatives were collected using a variety of news sources and websites, including the Center for Transportation Execllence and Ballotpedia. Results were verified and compiled from State, County and Local Government sources as of November 4, 2010..

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