Most voters asked at the ballot box November 4 whether they would support increasing their tax burden to fund transportation improvements overwhelmingly said "yes." In total, the measures would generate more than $71 billion in new revenue for transportation infrastructure work, a post-election American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) report finds.
ARTBA tracked 37 state and local transportation funding-related ballot initiatives in 17 states. Of the 37 measures, 32—or 86 percent—asked voters to initiate, extend or increase taxes, or approve bonds to fund transportation improvements. Twenty-five—78 percent of the bond and tax measures—were approved with an average vote of 63 percent.
The measures included five statewide initiatives. Among them: voters in 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, and voters in 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. There were 30 state and local ballot initiatives in 2006. Of the 27 asking voters to increase revenue for transportation infrastructure, 77 percent, 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 percent of the bond and tax measures—were approved.
The ARTBA report on the 2008 elections, including a state-by-state rundown, can be found online at http://www.artba.org/pdf/2008_Ballot_Initiatives_Report.pdf.