By Keith Laing
Advocates for road and transit projects are contending that their visions for increased funding were ratified by voters in last week’s elections.
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARBTA) said that almost all of the referenda that were on ballots across the country last Tuesday were successful.
“Voters across the nation again confirmed the high value they place on transportation infrastructure improvements by approving 91 percent of November 5 ballot measures to increase or extend funding for highways, bridges and transit and electing two transportation advocates for governor,” the association said in a statement.
“There were 21 ballot initiatives at the state and local level, the largest number in a decade for a year that did not include congressional races or a presidential election,” the ARBTA statement continued. “The total value of the approved measures was nearly $240 million. On average, this week’s successful ballot measures were approved with 67 percent of the vote.”
The road builders association additionally identified the winner’s of last week’s gubernatorial races, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Virginia Gov.-Elect Terry McAuliffe (D) as “transportation investment advocates,” though Christie famously put the brakes on a proposed railway tunnel that would have increased the capacity of trains that run between his state and New York City.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) offered a similar assessment of the 2013 elections, saying six of the seven public transit referenda that were before voters were approved.
“The high passage rate of these initiatives demonstrates voters trust their public transit agency with their hard earned tax dollars to make their community better and more inviting to all,” American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President Michael Melaniphy said in a statement. “Year in and year out voters support public transit because they see the impact these systems have on their communities.”
The road builders association said the approval rate for transportation referenda in 2013 was higher than it had been in previous years.
“Voters approved 68 percent of similar measures in 2012, 55 per cent in 2011, 61 percent in 2010, 78 percent in 2008, 77 per cent in 2007, 77 percent in 2006, 83 per cent in 2005 and 76 percent in 2004,” the group said.