The Voice of the Railroad Construction Industry

NRC Special Bulletin: 90% of Local and State Transportation Measures Pass in November 2017

Nine out of 10 local and statewide transportation measures were approved on November 7. Of the nine approved measures, seven will or could include investments in rail infrastructure.

Denver voters approved the 2017 Denver General Obligation (GO) Bond, a $1 billion infrastructure bond to restore, replace, and expand infrastructure and capital assets with 73 percent of the vote. 

DeKalb County, GA voters approved a one-cent special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) for transportation, public safety, and other capital projects. Nearly 60 percent of the $388 million expected to be generated over the next six years will go toward transportation projects. The state legislature is also considering allowing DeKalb County officials to go to the ballot for an additional half-cent sales tax to fund MARTA service in the county.

Athens-Clarke County, GA voters passed a new sales tax for transportation that is expected to raise an estimated $104 million over five years to spend on roads, bridges, sidewalks, bike lane and paths, and public transit. The Athens-Clarke commission approved a project list for the sales tax earlier this year that includes $6 million to replace a CSX bridge.

In Maine, voters approved the issuance of $105 million in bonds for transportation projects, including $20 million for multimodal facilities, equipment, and property acquisition. The measure passed with over 70 percent of the vote.

Lawrence, KS voters renewed a 0.2 percent sales tax for mass transit with almost 70 percent of the vote. In July 2018, the city commission will consider a capital improvement plan that includes an investment of $4.5 million investment in a multimodal facility in 2018 ($500,000) and 2019 ($4 million).

Philadelphia, PA voters passed a $172 million infrastructure bond package that includes $4.7 million for transit. The measure passed with nearly 70 percent of the vote. 

Adams County, CO voters approved the formation of the Aerotropolis Regional Transportation Authority. The Colorado Department of Transportation's Aerotropolis Visioning Study states that "efficient infrastructure surrounding an airport is key to fostering and supporting economic development" and that includes "capitalizing on the RTD commuter rail University of Colorado A Line."

Last November, 34 out of 48 local and statewide transit measures and one ports measure were approved. Many in the transportation industry, including APTA and ASCE, argue that the success of transportation ballot measures over the past few years reflects a larger trend toward support for infrastructure investment. 

For more information on transportation ballot measures, visit the Center for Transportation Excellence website which monitors elections and provides statistical analysis of the results.