The entire country shared a sigh of relief when the election in-fighting finally ended this week.
Before the election, President-elect Donald Trump released his ideas on rebuilding America’s infrastructure. He said he wants to put a trillion dollars into rebuilding infrastructure over the next 10 years without raising taxes. He plans to do this through the private sector with tax credits for the equity. In late October, Trump campaign Economic Advisor Wilber Ross told Fox Business News, “We are assuming that one-sixth of the capital would have to be put up by equity five-to-one leverage from private sector lenders. To encourage that much equity coming in, we would give them an 82 percent tax credit.”
Public-private partnerships (PPP) have led to some spectacular transportation infrastructure project failures, with the Indiana and Texas toll road bankruptcies leading the charge (literally). And toll roads are likely to be at the center of more PPP projects. The Trump Administration plans in this regard will require great scrutiny. Here is a more skeptical article on President-elect Trump’s funding infrastructure plan.
Two Statewide Lockbox Amendments were approved along with numerous tax increases for road and public transportation improvements. The tax increase votes below were approved or rejected by a thin margin. Many of them required a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority. Election results of state and local transportation referendums are listed below by state.
- Statewide Amendment 12: Baldwin County Toll Amendment: APPROVED
AL.com reported that the approval of this statewide referendum would allow the state legislature to create authorities to build and operate toll roads and bridges for cities in Baldwin County. The approval of this referendum also allows the authority to issue revenue bonds to finance projects. Baldwin County sits in the short panhandle that touches the Gulf of Mexico and has less than 200,000 people according to the 2010 census.
- On the flip side, which might make this statewide amendment difficult to administer, Baldwin County voters rejected 52 to 48 percent a local referendum to establish a county toll authority.
- Statewide Proposition 53—No Blank Checks Initiative: Rejected
Would have required any infrastructure project that needed more than $2 billion in public bonds to be voted on by the people.
- Alameda (Oakland) and Contra Costa Counties: voters Approved renewal of property tax for 20 years for AC Transit bus operations and maintenance.
- Contra Costa County (East Bay) voters Rejected a 0.5% sales tax increase for 30 years that would have increased funds for transit, road and congestion improvement projects.
- Los Angeles County: voters Approved to increase the sales tax by 0.5% plus continue in perpetuity an additional 0.5% sales tax (that was originally set to expire in 2039) to expand public transportation, highway projects, bike and pedestrian projects. Estimated $100 billion will be collected over 40 years.
- City of Oakland voters Approved Measure KK. Will raise $600 million through property taxes with half going to repave streets and install bike friendly infrastructure.
- Sacramento County: voters Rejected a 0.5% sales tax increase for 30 years for road and transit projects.
- Santa Clara County (San Jose) Approved a 0.5% sales tax for 30 years for an estimated total of $6.5 billion for public transportation projects and operations, highways, streets and bicycle/pedestrian projects. This funding will finish the second phase of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley extension into San Jose and Santa Clara.
- San Diego County: voters Rejected a 0.5% sales tax increase for 40 years that would go for high priority freeway projects and transit. Did not receive the required two-thirds vote.
- San Francisco Area voters Approved to raise property taxes to improve and maintain the Bay Area Rapid Transit System. Total cost over 40 years: $3.5 billion.
- San Luis Obispo County (on the Pacific coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco) voters narrowly Rejected a 0.5% sales tax increase for nine years that would have provided an estimated total of $25 million per year for various transportation projects.
- Ventura County (NW of Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast) voters Rejected a 0.5% sales tax for transportation improvements. An estimated $3.3 billion would have been raised over 30 years.
- Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale) voters Rejected a 0.5% sales tax that would have given an estimated $6 billion over 30 years for roads and transit.
- Atlanta Voters Approved a 0.5% sales tax for 40 years to upgrade public transportation.
- Atlanta voters also Approved an additional 0.4% sales tax for 5 years to upgrade bike and pedestrian projects. The Atlanta region has some of the worst traffic congestion issues in the county. It is unlikely that expansion of public transportation and upgrading bike and pedestrian projects alone will solve the problem.
- Fulton County (except city of Atlanta) voters Approved a 0.75% sales tax for 5 years to improve road and highways.
- House Joint Resolution 36–Transportation Funds Amendment Or Lockbox Amendment: APPROVED by 78.9% of Illinois voters
(Click here for details) Supporters of the measure which included unions and the construction industry (which contributed a great deal of money for the amendment), made the case to voters that approving this measure would boost safety by protecting infrastructure. The Lockbox Coalition told voters that since 2003, nearly $7 billion in transportation-related funds have been diverted to other projects.
- Indianapolis/Marion County voters Approved a 0.25% income tax increase for public transportation.
- Question 6–Transportation Bond to approve a $100 million transportation bond: Approved. This would obligate the state to a $100 million bond. $80 million for road projects and $20 to ports, harbors, bicycle and pedestrian projects.
- SE Michigan voters Rejected a referendum to increase property taxes to expand public transportation to the tune of $4.7 billion over 20 years.
- Clark County (Las Vegas) voters Approved to continue a temporary 10-cents-per-gallon fuel & index rate for future inflation road expansion and safety projects. The collection of the additional gas tax money over 10 years is estimated to be $3 billion.
- Voters in Carson City, Lyon and Douglas counties Rejected a 3-cent gas tax hike.
- Public Question #2—Gas Tax Dedicated to Transportation Funding Amendment: Approved. Another Lockbox Referendum that will dedicate all gas tax money to transportation funding. Some, including the state lieutenant governor, question whether the passage gives state lawmakers carte blanche to go on unlimited borrowing sprees in the future.
- Wake County (Raleigh) voters Approved to increase the sales tax by 0.5% which will give $1 billion over 10 years to expand public transportation.
- Clackamas County (Portland extends into this County) voters Rejected a 6-cents-per-gallon fuel tax dedicated to road maintenance and safety improvements. The proposed seven year temporary tax would have given an estimated $9 million per year. County officials say they are in need of an additional $17 for road maintenance each year. A similar measure was rejected by voters in May.
- Voters in the Oregon cities of Coburg, Coos Bay, Cornelius, Cottage Grove, King City, North Bend, Springfield and Tigard also Rejected gas tax increases of between 3 and 6 cents.
- Portland Voters Approved a 4-year, 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase for street paving, safe routes to school and active transportation safety (Vision Zero) projects. $64 million.
- Charleston County Voters Approved a 0.5% sales tax increase for 25 years to improve highways, green spaces and build a rapid bus transit system. $2.1 billion over 25 years.
- Washington County (St. George/SW Utah) Rejected a 0.25% sales tax increase to improve county roads, city streets and transit.
- Virginia Beach voters Rejected a light rail project with 57 percent of the vote.
- Statewide Referendum Initiative 732—Carbon Emission Tax: Rejected
- Metro Seattle voters Approved a 0.5% sales tax increase; a 0.8% vehicle excise tax increase and a 0.25 mill property tax increase to expand regional light rail. Extra funds raised will give the area $27.6 billion over 25 years. The Seattle region has some of the worst traffic congestion issues in the county. It is unlikely that expansion of public transportation alone will solve the problem.
- Spokane voters Approved a 0.2% sales tax increase which would bring in $20 million/year to build a bus rapid transit line and improve existing bus service.
If you have comments or questions about the November 8 election, please send them to [email protected] for a possible post-election newsletter follow up.