Voters want transportation improvements

Most Voters asked at the ballot box November 4, 2008, whether they would support increasing their tax burden to fund transportation improvements overwhelmingly said “yes,” according to information from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

In total, the measures would generate more than $71 billion in new revenue for transportation infrastructure work, an ARTBA post-election report finds.

The association tracked 37 state and local transportation funding-related ballot initiatives in 17 states. Of the 37 measures, 86% asked voters to initiate, extend, or increase taxes, or approve bonds to fund transportation improvements. Seventy-eight percent of the bond and tax measures were approved with an average vote of 63%.

The measures included five statewide initiatives. Among them:

  • California approved a bond issue of up to $9.9 billion to partially finance an 800-mile high speed train between San Francisco and Southern California.

  • Alaska authorized the state government to issue bonds for up to $315 million for transportation.

  • Rhode Island approved $87.2 million in transportation bonds to match available federal funds for highway, road, and bridge improvements.

Local measures included 12 initiatives to extend or renew an existing sales tax for transportation purposes (10 were approved), five bond authorizations (all were approved), two new taxes for transportation (one was approved), and 10 increases in existing sales or property taxes (five were approved).

The 2008 transportation ballot initiative results demonstrate continued strong public support for transportation investment for the third straight election, according to ARTBA.

There were 30 state and local ballot initiatives in 2006. Of the 27 asking voters to increase revenue for transportation infrastructure, 77%, valued at over $40 billion, were approved. In 2004, voters supported $28 billion for transportation investment through 55 ballot initiatives. Thirty-six initiatives — representing 78% of the bond and tax measures — were approved.

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