Voters Support Nearly $40B for Transportation Funding

Tue November 21, 2006 - West Edition

Most voters asked at the ballot box Nov. 7 whether they would support increasing their tax burden to fund transportation improvements overwhelmingly said “yes.” In total, the measures would generate approximately $40 billion in new revenue for transportation infrastructure work, an American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) review found.

Americans in 14 states voted on at least 30 transportation funding-related ballot initiatives in this year’s election.

Of the 30 ballot measures, 28 — or 93 percent — asked voters to initiate, extend or increase taxes, or approve bonds to fund transportation improvements. Twenty-three — 77 percent of the bond and tax measures — were approved. On average, voters approved the winning measures by 66 percent.

This included five state initiatives that were all approved. In California, voters approved a bond issue of up to $19.9 billion for transportation improvements and told state officials in a separate measure to stop diverting the state sales tax on motor vehicle fuels for non-transportation purposes.

In Minnesota, a new constitutional amendment will dedicate all of the sales tax from car and truck sales to highway and transit investment, which should generate $300 million each year. Voters in New Jersey increased the portion of the existing state gas tax that is dedicated to transportation, which is expected to generate an additional $78 million annually.

Local measures included eight initiatives to extend or renew an existing sales tax for transportation purposes (all eight were approved), 12 new taxes for transportation (eight approved, four were defeated) and two increases in existing sales or property taxes (both approved). A highway bond initiative, in Stafford, Va., was defeated. Spokane County, Wash., had two advisory questions on transit funding. In both cases, voters defeated the proposals.

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