Mixed Bag of Results
In addition to the federal, state, and local political races that were decided on Election Day 2020, many state and local transportation initiatives were taken up by voters across the country. While a few major transportation initiatives failed, the majority received a positive vote. Below is a sampling of all the transportation funding initiatives that were approved or rejected by voters this election season.
Statewide Financing Initiatives
- Arkansas voters amended the state constitution to make permanent a .5% statewide transportation sales tax first enacted in 2012, of which more than two-thirds of the nearly $294 million in annual tax revenue goes to highway projects, with the remainder split between city and county transportation programs.
- Maine voters approved a measure authorizing $105 million in general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure projects, including $90 million for highways and bridges, and $15 million for multimodal facilities and equipment related to transit, freight, passenger railroads, and more.
- In Travis County, TX, which includes Austin, a funding measure for the $7.1-billion Project Connect mass transit plan passed by a wide margin.
- Voters in Gwinnett County, GA, a large suburban Atlanta county, narrowly rejecting a 1% sales tax hike for up to 30 years to fund an estimated $12-billion transit and bus infrastructure expansion program.
- Portland, OR area voters rejected a new .75% payroll tax on private employers to fund a $7B transportation initiative that would have invested over $4B in extended light rail service in the metro area.
- Voters in the San Francisco Bay Area overwhelmingly passed an initiative to enact a 1/8-cent sales tax and create a dedicated revenue source for CalTrain.
- Travis County, TX voters also approved a separate $460-million bond-funded measure that includes improvements to streets, drainage infrastructure, sidewalks, and urban trails.
- The Village of Key Biscayne, FL, approved a $100-million bond measure to help fund a variety of resilience projects to safeguard the low-lying barrier island near Miami from the effects of sea level rise.
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., Mesa, AZ, Bend, OR, and Pflugerville, TX voters all okayed $100 million+ in bonding initiatives for road improvement and other transportation projects in their areas.
As AGC continues to advocate for solvency of the federal highway trust fund and pushes for higher federal investment in our nation’s infrastructure, we recognize the importance that each level of government plays in financing that infrastructure and are glad to see transportation investment at the top of voter’s minds across the country.