This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Voters Approve Over $1 Billion in Transportation Investment
Voters in 13 states—from Hawaii to Rhode Island—approved 22 of 30 transportation improvement measures on November 2, according to the nonpartisan Center for Transportation Excellence. Nearly $500 million in funding will be spent over five years on transportation as a result. The Center for Transportation Excellence determined that so far in 2010, voters approved 43 of 56 measures, supporting more than $1 billion in local infrastructure and services.
For example, two counties in Virginia approved bonds totaling more than $150 million to support the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Capital Improvement Program. In Rhode Island, more than 70% of voters approved a statewide measure for $4.7 million to purchase and rehabilitate buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Property tax increases or renewals were successful in four Michigan jurisdictions, two West Virginia cities, and two counties in Ohio. And, five of seven counties in the San Francisco Bay Area voted to increase vehicle registration fees by $10 to support transportation investments, making vehicle fees a new and noteworthy financing tool.
Only a small number of the transportation measures were not financial. In California, voters approved Proposition 22, a constitutional amendment to close loopholes that allowed the state to fill budget gaps with money designated for transportation. And, in Oahu, Hawaii, the electorate decided to create a public transit authority to oversee the construction and operation of the city’s $5.5 billion rail transit project. See the Center for Transportation Excellence press release and ballot measures.