TRIP TALK

November 2000

Article December 28, 2000
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It’s November and that means it’s election time

It’s November and that means it’s election time. There were highway transportation measures on ballots in at least a half-dozen states this month.


The Road Information Program (TRIP) works with state and national groups to help educate the public about road and bridge needs, and our resources were utilized by groups in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington.


By the time you read this, we will know the outcome of these measures. Here’s an overview and the role TRIP played in some states.


In New Jersey, voters decided on a measure regarding the dedication of petroleum and auto sales tax to the state’s transportation trust fund. Approval would allow almost $1 billion per year over the next four years to flow into the fund to pay for transit and highway capital projects. TRIP worked with the New Jersey Alliance for Action to issue a research-based report documenting transportation needs in the Garden State.


Voters in Rhode Island voted on Referendum 3, which would authorize the state to issue bonding of $60 million for road improvements. This money, in turn, would allow the state to qualify for $360 million in federal funds for their highway program. TRIP released a report on behalf of the Construction Industries of Rhode Island to document how conditions have improved in the state in recent years and to underscore that the new bond funding is needed to continue improvements.


TRIP worked with the Alabama Road Builders Association on a $350 million bond referendum, with $250 million going to improving the state’s structurally deficient bridges. TRIP issued a report on bridge conditions in Alabama.


An initiative on November’s ballot in the state of Washington would require the legislature to spend 90% of all "transportation funds" on construction, expansion, improvements and maintenance of the state’s road system. If approved, the new emphasis on roads could require a shift of $700 million to $2 billion in transit and other "non-road" spending to construction and maintenance of "roads." Working on behalf of the Asphalt Paving Association of Washington, TRIP prepared a report that looks at trends in transit and highway use in the state, and which rebuts a variety of anti-highway arguments to counter an active campaign by anti-roads groups.


We will report later on the outcome of these initiatives and what it means to the highway construction industry.


About the author: 
Wilkins is executive director of The Road Information Program
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