This year has presented plenty of challenges, for public transit and beyond. But honestly, we’ve been both surprised and inspired by how communities across the country have responded. This year could have been a wash for local communities unwilling to think big and ask votes to invest in their future — but that’s exactly what they did.
When the story is written about public transit at the ballot box in 2020, we will talk about 50 measures that pushed forward rather than taking the safe route. And so far, 32 of 34 measures have been met with success and 16 will be decided tomorrow.
The success of public transit at the ballot box this year has been a testament to innovation, thoughtfulness, and the collaboration of the plans themselves. The measures put forward improve access and frequency to bus and rail, fund anti-displacement initiatives, make sidewalks and bike lanes safer — they’re bold and reflect voters’ hopes for the future.
Voters are also persisting and turnout in 2020 should be historic. As of Monday afternoon, more than 96 million people have voted early, which is more than 70 percent of the 2016 total.
Based on research and data from past campaigns, we know that higher turnout in cities often translates to greater support for public transit at the ballot box. Indeed, based on CFTE’s conversations with many of the major campaigns, internal polling shows that our biggest measures are crossing into Election Day in a position to win.
This is a change election and cities are being bold.
People are tired of neglecting the core infrastructure that makes our communities go. “Now isn’t the time” is the same sad country song we’ve heard from critics for years. The pandemic is just another excuse critics are using to put off necessary improvements to our transportation systems. But voters aren’t buying it.
One of the most significant changes in 2020 has been around narrative. Public transit isn’t just about transit. It intersects with countless other issues and reflects our values as a community. It’s about greater equity, access to jobs and education, support for frontline workers and first responders, and investment in a sustainable, clean environment.
On November 3, voters will consider 16 more measures that would provide innovative advances to local transportation. Below, we outline what those measures are and what advocates are doing to make sure they pass.
CFTE will continue to update you as we learn the results of these measures on election day and beyond. As always, if something is happening in your community, please do not hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
APTA’s Center for Transportation Excellence
What’s happened in 2020 so far
Measures on the ballot
Wins for transit
What’s coming on November 3rd
Measures on the ballot
Annual funding at stake
Total funding at stake
Where communities are voting on public transit
What campaigns are talking about
Campaigns are speaking about transit’s importance in essential workers getting to work and helping our communities during the pandemic.
The role of transit, transit projects, and new jobs in recovering from the pandemic is a major focus of campaigns.
Climate change is increasingly important to voters, and campaigns are finding it impactful to discuss transit’s role in improving both local environments and global climate impact.
Campaigns are highlighting specific ways their plans will help underserved populations. Racial equity is particularly salient, but arguments about how transit serves youth, seniors, and disabled people are also popular.