November 6 was a day of celebration for transit advocates across the country as 17 out of 26 transportation measures on the ballot in 14 different states resulted in further investment for our cities’ transportation systems. That translates to a 65% success rate. As of Wednesday morning, 3 measures were still awaiting election results in Pierce County, WA; Alachua County, FL; and Richland County, SC.
Two closely-watched campaigns requiring a 66.67% majority in Los Angeles and Alameda County, CA narrowly failed despite winning 65% and 65.5% of the vote, respectively. There were also a number of ballot measure failures that the Center for Transportation Excellence (CFTE) is hailing as victories for public transit. All 4 initiatives seeking to withdraw local support of public transit services failed. Voters in Walker, MI; Spencer and Sylvania Townships in Ohio; and Falmouth, ME came out and voted in support of continuing transit service in their communities.
The majority of the initiatives called for increasing or renewing sales taxes to support various transportation investments. In addition to improving and expanding public transit service, the measures will also fund projects for street and sidewalk repair, bike lanes, greenways, pedestrian trails, and bridges.
Advisory measures granted permission for Virginia Beach, VA to move forward with plans for a light rail extension into the city and for Stephenson County, IL to establish its own county-wide transit system. The overwhelming message of this election season has been that despite the rough economic climate and lack of funding for public programs, voters have shown their support for transit in their communities and the importance of transportation to the nation’s well-being.