Tuesday’s results add to the 15 public transit measures already passed by voters this year, bringing this year’s total to 29 out of 36 wins for public transit, an 80% win rate. The number is expected to hold steady as a final result comes in for the remaining measure.
The most recent results add to a string of historic years for transit at the ballot box, with over 85% of measures winning for public transit from 2017 to 2022. At a time when the federal government is more committed than ever to funding public transit and infrastructure, voters agree and are putting their money where their mouth is to provide a local match, according to APTA.
“Almost one year ago, President Biden signed the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide state & local communities with long overdue funding for transportation, including public transit. In the year since, communities have met the moment and stepped up with bold visions for their transportation futures and asked voters for local funding to match,” said APTA President & CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “We’re heartened to see that voters have once again put trust in their communities with overwhelming victories for measures funding public transit across the nation last night and throughout the past year, and we’re excited to see even more communities follow suit in 2023 and 2024.”
“For years, the public’s support for transit has been on a roll, and 2022 is no different,” said Josh Cohen, executive director of CFTE. “Voters support transit at the ballot box because it can transform a community and create pathways to a more equitable and accessible future. Transit is the only issue that unites leaders from all walks of society, from elected officials to transit agencies to business to labor to the grassroots, around a common vision that benefits all of us. While some of the larger measures suffered a setback, the results from the 2022 elections reflect a years-long trend toward greater investment.”
The measures winning at the ballot box Tuesday represent over $4 billion in new funding. Some of last night’s biggest victories for public transit include:
- An extension of a half-cent sales tax for 30 years in San Francisco. This measure will allow the local transportation authority to issue up to $1.91 billion in bonds for transportation projects.
- A statewide ballot initiative in Massachusetts that would place an additional 4% tax on earners over $1 million – in addition to the existing 5% flat-rate state income tax – to generate a total revenue of $1,300,000,000. The revenue can be used for education, roads, bridges, and public transportation.
- A $52,630,000 bond to fund a variety of transportation, road, pedestrian enhancement and transit projects across Arlington County, Va.
- Two propositions to stay with Capital Metro and maintain public transit service in Lago Vista and Manor, Texas, joining a similar victory earlier this year in Leander, Texas.
- Multiple transportation millage renewals and initiatives in Michigan, including a levy of 0.478-mill to continue the Bay Area Transit Authority’s bus service in both Grand Traverse & Leelanau County for four years; a six-year renewal of 0.2 of 1-millage for the Huron Transit Corporation in Huron County; and a renewal of a 0.95-mill rate to maintain and increase SMART transit services for five years in Macomb County.
- Several countywide sales tax measures in Colorado, such as an extension of the 0.1% countywide transportation sales tax in Boulder County and a 0.5-cent sales tax increase to fund a new transit authority in Eagle County.
Measures falling short included:
- An early renewal of Fresno County, Calif.’s Measure C sales tax for transportation. The measure needed ⅔ supermajority support to pass, and fell short of that mark. The current tax does not expire until 2026 so the County still has time to pursue another renewal without a loss of funding.
- An early renewal of Madera County, Calif.’s Measure T sales tax for transportation. The measure needed ⅔ supermajority support to pass, and fell short of that mark. The current tax does not expire until 2026 so the county still has time to pursue another renewal without a loss of funding.
- A sales tax measure for transportation in Hillsborough County, FL. The measure faced legal challenges in the last few weeks, with a judge removing the item from the ballot until the court of appeals issued a stay of that order.
- A sales tax measure for transportation in Orange County, Fla.
- A sales tax measure for transportation in New Hanover County, N.C.
At the time this release was sent, the following measure has not yet been called:
- A sales tax initiative in Sacramento County, Calif., which would raise the county sales tax by one-half of 1% for 40 years and raise $8.5 billion to fund dozens of transportation projects. As of Wednesday morning, the measure is trailing narrowly.
For more information on transit ballot measures, visit APTA’s Center for Transportation Excellence website.