U.S. voters support public transportation measures in record numbers

Last night’s results add to the 32 public transit measures already passed by voters this year

November 04, 2020 / 2 minute read
public transportation

In communities across the country, voters on Tuesday continued to voice their overwhelming support for public transit by approving 8 out of 10 measures supporting public transit.

According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), at this time, eight measures are still awaiting results or confirmation. Last night’s results add to the 32 public transit measures already passed by voters this year, bringing this year’s total to 40 out of 44 wins for public transit, a 91% win rate. This number is expected to hold steady as final results come in for the remaining measures.

Tuesday’s results add to a banner year for public transit at the ballot box, APTA said.

”Voters throughout the country once again overwhelmingly said ‘yes’ to public transit ballot measures that will expand and improve public transit, spur economic development and job creation, and connect communities and the people who live in them,” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said in a statement. “Even during this pandemic and economic downturn, voters have spoken and pledged their vote where they know it’s needed—public transportation investment. These ballots once again underscore the importance of local, state, and federal partnerships in transportation investment.”

The measures considered Tuesday represent over $38 billion in new funding. Some of last night’s biggest victories for public transit include:

  • Prop A in Austin, Texas, which would provide huge investments in bus and rail to manage Austin’s urban growth while providing hundreds of millions of dollars for community-led anti-displacement measures
  • Prop A in San Antonio, Texas, which would allow VIA Metropolitan Transit to continue to operate at its best capacity during the pandemic
  • Measure RR in the Bay Area, California, which would provide the first dedicated source of funding for Caltrain
  • Prop 1 in Seattle, Washington, which would renew a tax that funds bus service and subsidized pass programs for students and other groups
  • The Mountain Line mill levy increase in Missoula, Montana, which would, among other improvements, fund Missoula’s innovative Zero Fare program

APTA said at least two measures fell short, including Measure 26-218 in Portland, Oregon, which would fund a large slate of transportation, transit, and safety improvements throughout the region to address historically inequitable transportation planning; and a measure in Newton County, Georgia, to institute a 1% TSPLOST sales tax that would benefit transit.

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SOURCE: American Public Transportation Association

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