Voters Support Transportation Initiatives On Election Day

On Election Day, U.S. voters approved 91 percent of ballot measures to increase or extend funding for highways, bridges and transit and elected two transportation advocates for governor. The moves come at a time when U.S. investment in schools, highways and infrastructure has hit its lowest levels since the end of World War II. 

Holy Alfano, NATSO’s vice president of government affairs, said the election may be proof that the public’s mindset is changing. 

“These votes show that Americans are increasingly aware of the importance of a strong national infrastructure and are willing to support improvements to our country’s roads,” she said. 

The Financial Times reported that the Great Recession, public opposition to spending, and reduced taxes have pushed gross public capital investment down to its lowest levels since 1947, Measured as a percentage of U.S. output, public spending averaged 5 percent since the war. In the past year, that figure dropped to 3.5 percent. The article points to Republican opposition to spending as a central cause for the drop, but also notes decreased revenue from fuel taxes.

But on Nov. 5, successful transportation-related ballot measures were approved with 67 percent of the vote, and the approved measures held a total value of nearly $240 million.

Voters approved four of five bond initiatives; 12 measures for increasing, extending or renewing a sales tax for transportation purposes; and other measures that addressed property taxes, a card room tax and a transaction and use tax.

In addition to supporting measures to improve infrastructure, voters in two states elected transportation advocates for governor. In New Jersey, voters reelected Gov. Chris Christie (R), who pushed the state’s five-year, $8 billion “pay-as-you-go” plan to fund transportation-related projects. Virginia voters elected Terry McAuliffe for governor. Earlier this year, McAuliffe, a Democrat, lobbied the state’s legislature to support a transportation funding package boosted by new revenue that was being pushed by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. 

Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
Source:
NATSO News Weekly (NNW)

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