Washington, DC. — The votes have been tallied and public transportation was a clear winner in last night’s election. Ballot measures, which increased or secured investment in public transit, earned the approval of voters in states from California to Connecticut, New Mexico to Maine, Virginia to Florida. Voters said “yes” to investments in improving and expanding public transportation, creating jobs, and making communities even safer.
Overall in 2018, public transportation won 31 of 38 ballot measures in primary and general elections, a win percentage of 82 percent. Yesterday, voters passed 17 of 20 transportation-related ballot measures — an approval rate of 85 percent. Two measures remain undecided in San Mateo, CA and Flagstaff, AZ. Historically over the past two decades, public transportation measures have won more than 70 percent of the time. The trend lines for public transportation are clear.
“The voters have spoken and put their vote, and hard-earned tax dollars, where they know it’s needed, by investing in public transportation,” said American Public Transportation Association President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “From big cities to small municipalities, voters approved measures that will expand and improve public transit, spur economic development and job creation, and connect communities and the people who live in them. November 6 was a banner day for public transportation at the ballot box.”
Highlights of the results include:
● Proposition 6 in California was defeated by a rate of 55 percent and preserves more than $5 billion a year in dedicated transportation funding.
● Voters in Hillsborough County, FL, approved critical investments in public transportation and transportation infrastructure. For Referendum Number 2 in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, voters approved a one percent increase in the sales tax that expires in 30 years. Forty-five percent of the revenue generated is earmarked for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART).
● In Broward County, FL, voters approved a one percent increase expected to generate $300 million annually for transportation upgrades, including the possibility of electric buses and light rail.
● Arlington County, VA, voters overwhelmingly approved, by a rate of 81 percent, a bond to invest more than $75 million into Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) capital improvements.
● Voters in four New Mexico counties — Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, and Taos – chose to renew a tax supporting their regional public transit system.
● Voters across the state of Maine voted yes on Question 3, a ballot measure calling for $106 million in bonds for transportation infrastructure, including new investments in public transportation. Sixty-eight percent of voters said yes to Question 3.
For a table of results of public transportation-related ballot measures visit here.
“APTA is also pleased to congratulate candidates up and down the ballot in 2018 who made public transportation a part of their campaign or supported measures at the ballot box,” said Skoutelas. “Candidates for Governor across the country and the political spectrum—from Gavin Newsom in California to Chris Sununu in New Hampshire— made public transit a key part of their agenda and APTA looks forward to working with these administrations to expand and improve public transportation in their states.”