Transportation issues settled by voters

December 2020/January 2021

Keith Goble


During the Nov. 3 election, voters in about a dozen states had their say on various transportation-related initiatives with billions of dollars at stake. Land Line tracked measures covering statewide, county and local ballot initiatives. Here is a breakdown of how some of the most notable initiatives fared on ballots.


Amendment 2: Baldwin County

Whether to amend the Alabama constitution to create a toll authority in Baldwin County. The authority would be authorized to build a 24-mile extension of the Baldwin Beach Express to Interstate 65. FAILED


Question 1: City of Mesa

Would authorize $100 million in general obligation bonds for 12 projects around the city, including arterial reconstructions. Other projects would include street and road improvements and walking and biking projects. PASSED

Question 2: City of Tempe

Whether to authorize the use of general obligation bonds to construct, reconstruct or improve highways, streets, bridges, and pedestrian projects. Money also would be used to improve traffic control systems, street lighting, and street signage. The use of $74 million in bonds would cover projects over five years. PASSED


Issue 1: Statewide

Would continue collection of a one-half cent sales tax to cover a $1.3 billion bond issue for roads and bridges. In place since 2013, the tax collection has a sunset date of July 1, 2023.

Issue 1 would continue to direct two-thirds of the revenue, or $205 million annually, to the Arkansas DOT to help address repairs and construction of state highways and bridges. Cities and counties would again split the rest, or $44 million yearly, for county roads, and city streets and bridges. Approval of the extension would amend the state’s constitution to make the tax permanent. PASSED


Proposition 22: Statewide

Whether to override Assembly Bill 5 from 2019 as for whether app-based transportation and delivery drivers are employees or independent contractors. Approval would define app-based drivers as independent contractors and adopt labor and wage policies specific to affected drivers and companies. PASSED

Measure DD: Sonoma County

To extend a one-quarter-cent sales tax to fund road and infrastructure projects for 20 years beyond the 2025 sunset date. The measure would use tax revenue for purposes that include pothole repairs, congestion relief, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The tax is estimated to raise $26 million each year. Collection of the tax would end in 2045, unless voters approve another extension. PASSED

Measure V: City of Concord

To extend and double the local sales tax from 0.50% to 1%. The change is estimated to raise $27 million annually for purposes that include street and pothole repair. Failure to approve the ballot question would result in the current sales tax ending in March 2025. PASSED

Measure P: City of Pasadena

Would authorize the city to renew an $18 million annual transfer from the city’s power company into the city’s general fund. The renewal would be used for needs that include street

repairs. PASSED

Proposition A: City of San Francisco

Whether to authorize borrowing for up to 30 years to cover $487.5 million in work. Specifically for roads, passage would fund $41.5 million in street resurfacing, curb ramps, and plazas. PASSED

Measure H: City of San Jose

Whether to increase the 15% cardroom tax by 1.5% to 16.5%. The increase is estimated to raise $15 million yearly for projects that include street repair. PASSED

Measure Q: City of Santa Rosa

Would combine two one-quarter cent sales taxes into a one-half cent sales tax. The new tax is estimated to raise $18 million each year for projects that include street and pothole repair. The tax would be collected for 10 years. PASSED


Issue 1B: Adams County

Whether to renew a one-half of 1% sales tax for road and bridge work. The tax extension would be permanent. Otherwise, the tax is scheduled to sunset in 2028. PASSED


Referendum 1: Marion County

Whether to extend a 1% sales tax for public safety and transportation infrastructure. The extension is estimated to raise $196 million over four years. PASSED


Referendum: Effingham County

Whether to raise the local sales tax by 1% to benefit transportation work. The increase is estimated to raise $45 million over five years. Tax revenue could only be applied for transportation improvements, such as roads, bridges, sidewalks, bicycle paths and other transportation-related purposes. PASSED

Referendum: Gwinnett County

Would impose a 1% sales tax for transit improvements in the Atlanta area’s largest suburban county. The tax is estimated to raise $12 billion over 30 years. FAILED

Referendum: Newton County

Would raise the local sales tax by 1% for transportation projects. Revenue from the tax increase is estimated to raise $56 million over five years. Funds would be applied largely for road expansions. Additionally, money would be used for intersection improvements, bridge replacement and repair, paving and resurfacing, transit, and safety improvements. FAILED


Question 1: Statewide

Whether to require manufacturers that sell personal vehicles or commercial vehicles with telematics systems in the state to include a standardized open data platform. The platform would enable vehicle owners and independent repair shops to retrieve mechanical data and run diagnostics through a mobile app. PASSED


Measure 26-218: Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties

Whether to approve a $5 billion plan to invest in regional transportation infrastructure programs in the Portland area. The Get Moving 2020 plan includes funding to repair and replace bridges, public transportation expansion, and upgrade traffic signals and streetlights in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. The revenue to cover costs of the program would come via a maximum 0.75% business payroll tax. The tax would be collected from area businesses with more than 25 employees. State and local governments would be exempted from paying the tax.


Proposition B: City of Austin

Whether to authorize $460 million in general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure. The bonds would be supported by increased property taxes. PASSED LL


Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.