Voters across the nation continued to vote for ballot measures that will at least partially fund public transportation and improve infrastructure.
In Houston, 68% of voters gave the green light to the METRONext Moving Forward Plan. The $3.5 billion bond referendum was largely based on community feedback gathered over the last three years at dozens of open houses and hundreds of other community meetings. The plan includes 500 miles of travel improvements.
The referendum's approval signals the beginning of a process to develop the plan's projects. Those include 290 miles of route enhancements and signature bus service, as well as accessibility and usability improvements for disabled and seniors and other projects such as, 75 miles of METRORapid bus service, 21 new or improved Park & Ride transit centers, and 16 miles of METRORail extensions, which include connections to Hobby Airport, the City of Houston Municipal Court House, and the North Shepard Park & Ride.
Meanwhile in Denver, voters were in favor of creating a new agency, which would manage the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of the city’s transportation networks and take over responsibilities from the public works department. However, voters in the state voted in favor of a proposition that would retain excess revenue for transportation and education spending, instead of returning it to taxpayers.
In Cincinnati, voters approved a measure to conditionally repeal the county’s earnings tax for public transit if a countywide sales tax measure is passed to replace it this year. This is the first step for Hamilton County in revamping and increasing the county’s transit funding next year. Preliminary results revealed 76% voting “Yes” to 24% voting “No.”
Additional victories of note include:
- Albuquerque, N.M., voters approved two measures, a receipts tax and a bond measure, to increase local public transit funding. Preliminary results show the receipts tax passing 65% to 35%, and the bond measure passing 58% to 42%.
- Maine voters overwhelmingly approved a $105 million bond measure to benefit transportation, with a portion of the funds dedicated to public transit, ports, harbors, airports, railroads, and bicycle and pedestrian trails.
- Lake County, Ohio voters approved a 0.25% sales tax for 10 years to support Laketran, by a count of 58% to 42%.
To see information on all of 2019’s transit-related ballot measures, click here.