American voters have been very supportive of transportation approving 71 percent of all ballot measures this year.
The Center of Transportation Excellence noted that 41 or 58 transportation related initiatives passed in 2014. Public transit measures in particular were very successful resulting in at least $6 billion of new revenue. CFTE has tracked 528 transit measures since 2000 and has seen a 72% success rate across the 14 years of data along with growth in the number of measures annually.
“While American voters have become more discerning on what issues to support with their tax dollars, citizens continued to vote to overwhelmingly support public transportation ballot initiatives because it helps to grow their communities,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “This very strong support serves as a sign to elected officials nationwide that voters place great value in public transit and are willing to vote to tax themselves to invest in their communities.”
There were two local transportation ballot measures in Kansas on Election Day. Shawnee County voters approved a sales tax extension, which will support road and bridge projects as well as other initiatives. Wichita voters rejected a proposal for a sales tax increase to address public transit, street maintenance, water resources and create a job development fund.
There were several states that approved transportation measures:
- In Hawaii, California, Rhode Island, Texas, Wisconsin, and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to secure funding for water resources, roads, and transit.
- In Texas, 81 percent of voters approved a measure to dedicate half of the state's oil and gas revenues to a state highway fund, as long as that money isn't going to tolled roads.
- Maryland and Wisconsin voters approved "lockbox" initiatives to make it harder to take money out of the state's transportation coffers.
"The outcomes of these elections demonstrate that Americans value well-maintained infrastructure and are willing to make the investment," said American Society of Civil Engineers President Robert Stevens.
Not all statewide initiatives were successful though. Massachusetts voters rejected automatic gas tax increases linked to inflation. And Louisiana voters declined to give the state legislature the authority to create an infrastructure bank.
All told though, 2014 proved to be a successful year for transportation funding advocates.