Voters cast ballots on seven transportation initiatives

Four of seven state and local initiatives on the Nov. 6 ballot relating to new highway and transit investment were approved with strong voter support, according to a report by the ARTBA.

Ballot measures included new taxes, existing sales and property (or vehicle) tax extensions, and approval for bond issuances.

In Texas, voters approved 63-37 percent a statewide proposition to authorize issuance of an additional $5 billion in general obligation bonds dedicated to highway improvement projects and repaid from the state general fund. Lawmakers meeting during the 2009 biennial legislative session will finalize details.

In Boulder, Colorado, voters approved 69-31 percent a .10 percent sales tax extension through 2024. The measure had been scheduled to expire in 2009. Proceeds will be used to fun roadway improvements, commuter bikeway projects, transit programs and for maintenance and operations.

In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, voters rejected by a vote of 70-30 percent an effort to repeal a half-cent sales tax generating approximately $70 million per year, dedicated to mass transit, originally approved by voters in 1998, ensuring a continuing stream of funds for ongoing transportation projects. Funds have supported regional bus expansion as well as construction of the state’s first light rail line, scheduled to open later this month.

In metropolitan Seattle, Washington, voters opposed 56-44 percent a sales tax package including new tolls and taxes to support bridge, highway, light rail and transit programs in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

In metropolitan Salt Lake City, Utah, residents of three suburban counties were asked to decide on a .25 percent sales tax increase to support transportation infrastructure at the local and regional level. Davis County voters rejected the proposal. Voters in Box Elder County approved the funding measure 68-32 percent, and the vote margin in nearby Weber County remained too close to call.