Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Transit Elections: 2012 Success, 2013 Outlook

Hey folks - sorry for the long, dry spell at Wake Up, Washtenaw! I've been busy with several projects - still am... BUT I want to pass this along to you from the newsletter I got from the Center for Transportation Excellence (CFTE). It's a roundup of news about transit campaigns of 2012.

Last year was a big year for transit investment at the ballot box. Voters approved 79% of the 62 measures that appeared on ballots between March and December 2012. This was also the most transit measures in a single year since CFTE began monitoring in 2000.  With major wins from Michigan to Baton Rouge to the Carolinas, many local and regional transit projects moved forward with voter support.

Significant losses did occur in Los Angeles and Atlanta, reminding us that each campaign faces unique and often unexpected hurdles. The story out of Los Angeles was especially frustrating as the campaign garnered more than 65% of the vote yet lost because of the state's supermajority requirement.  The referendum in Atlanta received a lot of media attention, unfortunately leading many to ask if new financing for transportation is something that voters will support. However, with a long-term success rate of 72% (between 2000-2012), we know that voters are willing to support investment when the transportation and economic benefits are clear. 

Traditionally, off-cycle years have seen fewer ballot measures and 2013 appears to be no exception. Perrysburg, OH, and Kalamazoo County, MI, are each taking property tax measures to voters in May. Jackson County, MO, is considering placing a one cent sales tax for buses, trails, and commuter rail on the ballot in August. For many other communities, this year's campaign is to get legislative or local approval to go to voters in 2014 and 2015.

For more information on current and past ballot measures, visit