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November 8, 2013

Public transportation ballot measures go 6 for 7

Seven public transportation ballot initiatives were on ballots across the country on November 5 and six of those passed while the other was narrowly defeated.

“The high passage rate of these initiatives demonstrates voters trust their public transit agency with their hard earned tax dollars to make their community better and more inviting to all,” said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Year in and year out voters support public transit because they see the impact these systems have on their communities.”

Property tax increases to support public transportation were on the ballot in multiple locations. Schoolcraft County, Mich. passed their ballot initiative by 68%, ensuring the future support of the local public transit system, while Missoula, Mont., supported a property tax increase with 57% voting in favor. Finally, Lake County, Ohio, passed an initiative with 71% voting in favor. This initiative will fund between 60% and 65% of the operating costs of the local public transportation system.

A sales tax increase in support of public transportation investment in Grays Harbor County, Wash., was approved by more than 71%. A sales tax to create a new public transit authority in Okanogan County, Wash., passed with 56%. This will establish the authority with dedicated local funding.

In a statewide referendum, Maine passed a multimodal transportation bond package worth $100 million with 72% of the vote.

Communities are supporting public transit programs because they deliver success for their local areas and surrounding neighborhoods, APTA said. With victories in six out of seven ballot initiatives , the year-end total shows strong support for public transportation. This year results in a 69.2% passage rate on public transit ballot initiatives and a total of nine out of 13 initiatives.

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