Voters approve transportation funding initiatives

Americans in 21 states voted on more than 55 transportation funding-related ballot initiatives during the Nov. 2 elections. Voters approved 78 percent of the 46 measures that asked them to initiate, extend or increase taxes to fund transportation improvements. In total, the revenue measures could generate as much as $28 billion for transportation infrastructure projects, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

Forty percent more transportation initiatives were on the ballot in the 2004 election than in 2002, a fact ARTBA says reflects growing infrastructure funding demands. Because reauthorization of TEA-21 has been stalled on Capitol Hill during the past year, many states took transportation funding measures to the voters last week.

Voters approved all 12 bond measures proposed to raise funding for transportation projects. Americans said yes to 10 out of 17 ballot measures to levy a new tax for transportation programs, five of seven ballot measures to increase existing transportation-related taxes, and nine out of 10 measures to increase “existing transportation funding mechanisms.”

In Missouri and California, the majority of voters elected to stop using highway user fees to fund non-transportation programs or services. Nearly 84 percent of voters in California approved a proposition that will protect “locked-in funding levels” and prevent the state from rerouting funds from transportation projects to other areas. In Missouri, 79 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment that will end the diversion of highway user fees to various state agencies. Last year, the state collected more than 1.3 billion in road-related taxes and fees, and of that revenue, the Missouri Department of Transportation received 55 cents of every dollar collected in highway user fees and taxes.

To see the results of state transportation ballot measures, click the link to the right.