Voters approve nearly 70 percent of transit ballot measures

By a passage rate of nearly 70 percent, voters across the country continued a track record of success for pro-transit measures as 13 of 19 local public transit-related ballot initiatives were approved yesterday. Adding yesterday’s results to earlier transit measures this year, 46 out of 58 pro-transit measures have passed in 2012 at a rate of 79.3 percent. These numbers reflect a long-term trend – since the year 2000, more than 70 percent of public transit ballot measures have successfully passed.

“Despite concerns about the economy, voters throughout the country at a rate of nearly 70 percent voted on November 6 to pass pro-public transportation ballot initiatives,” said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “This successful trend of passing transit measures demonstrates that public transportation is a vital and essential service that people want and need. Even with economic concerns still on everyone’s minds, voters decided to pass taxes, create bonding, or take other actions to improve or maintain public transportation.”

A half-cent sales tax for local and regional public transit was passed in Orange County, NC. This follows last year’s successful half-cent sales tax measure for improved public transportation in Durham County, NC, by creating larger, regional public transportation services in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
Voters in Arlington County, VA overwhelmingly voted by 80 percent to pass a nearly $32 million bond that will support a number of public transit projects, including capital projects for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Not all successful transit-related initiatives involved raising new funds. There were three ballot initiatives to eliminate service and all three were turned down. By a rate of 70 percent, voters in Falmouth, ME voted against ending METRO services after December 31, 2013. 59 percent of voters in Spencer Township, OH voted against withdrawing from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority. Additionally, 73 percent of voters in Walker, MI voted against a measure to end service by the Interurban Transit Partnership.

Two transit-related initiatives in Alameda County, CA and Los Angeles, CA had a majority vote with 65 percent, but were just shy of the required two-thirds margin needed to pass.

Results of two public transit ballot initiatives in the states of Washington and South Carolina have not been released. Two additional public transit measures will be decided in Los Angeles, CA and Kansas City, MO next month.
For a complete list of 2012 transportation state and local ballot initiatives, go to the CFTE web site at