Voters weigh in on transportation issues

December 2018/January 2019

Keith Goble

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During the Nov. 6 election voters in more than 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 state-by-state breakdown of how some notable initiatives fared on ballots.

California

Proposition 6: Statewide        No

Whether to keep vehicle tax and fee increases imposed a year ago. All tax and fee rates also are indexed to inflation to allow for increases in future years. In addition, the state’s Constitution would be amended to prevent any future increases without a statewide vote.

Proposition 7: Statewide        Yes

Authorize the Legislature to take action to stay on daylight saving time all year. Passage at the statehouse would require two-thirds support in both chambers. The governor must also endorse the change. If the above steps are taken, federal authorization would be the final phase necessary to make the change.

Measure AA: Marin County   Yes

To renew a half-cent sales tax to fund $27 million annually for roads and transit. The ballot question specifies that tax revenue would be used to “relieve traffic congestion on Highway 101 and local roads; fix potholes/maintain local roads; improve interchanges/access to/from Highway 101; … and provide local transit.”

Measure G: San Benito County          Yes

Would authorize the county to increase the 7.25-cent sales tax by 1 cent to repair potholes and maintain roads; widen Highway 25 to relieve traffic congestion; improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit options; and qualify for state and federal matching funds. The tax would raise an estimated $16 million annually over 30 years.

Measure W: San Mateo County         No

Whether to enact a one-half cent sales tax to reduce highway congestion, repair potholes, maintain streets, reduce local traffic, improve pedestrian safety in every San Mateo County city, reduce travel times/vehicle trips, and implement the San Mateo County Congestion Relief Plan.

Measure X: Township of Bolinas       Yes

An advisory question advising Marin County officials to prohibit overnight parking for large trucks in certain areas of the unincorporated township.

Measure T: City of San Jose   Yes

Whether to issue up to $650 million in general obligation bonds for public safety and infrastructure work that would include roads. Specifically, roads would claim at least $300 million.

Connecticut

Amendment 1: Statewide       Yes

Whether to amend the state’s Constitution to create a “lockbox” for transportation revenue. Passage would prohibit the state legislature from spending money in the special transportation fund on nontransportation purposes.

Colorado

Proposition 109: Statewide    No

Whether to issue up to $3.5 billion in bonds to fund 66 road and bridge projects. Money could not be spent on mass transit projects.

Proposition 110: Statewide    No

To increase the state’s sales tax by 0.62 percent to 3.52 percent for 20 years. Nearly half of the estimated $767 million annual tax revenue would be dedicated to transportation work, including multimodal projects. Another 40 percent would be earmarked for direct distributions to local governments for their own transportation projects. The remaining 15 percent would be used for multimodal transportation work.

Florida

Amendment 5: Statewide       Yes

Would require a two-thirds vote of legislators in both statehouse chambers to enact new taxes or increase existing tax rates. State law now mandates a simple majority.

The rule would be applied to taxes that include sales, fuel, alcohol and driver’s licenses. The requirement would not be applied to fees or taxes collected by a county, municipality, school board or special district.

Referendum 1: Broward County        Yes

Whether to raise the county sales tax by 1 percent for transportation improvements. An estimated $16 billion in revenue over 30 years would be used for improvements to “reduce traffic congestion, improve roads and bridges, enhance traffic signal synchronization” and transit and other projects.

Amendment 14: St. Lucie County      Yes

Would raise the local sales tax by one-half percent over the next 10 years. Exempt purchases would include the fuel tax. Revenue would be used to help with infrastructure projects that include roads that total about $1.2 billion. The county and each municipality have prepared a specific list of improvements.

Illinois

Referendum: Peoria County   Yes

To authorize the county to increase the local sales tax by one-half percent for up to 12 years. The estimated

$6.8 million in annual revenue would pay for road improvements and other transportation purposes.

Louisiana

Amendment 4: Statewide       Yes

Whether to amend the state Constitution to end the dedication of revenue from the Transportation Trust Fund to state police for traffic control.

Maine

Question 3: Statewide Yes

To approve a plan to fund $106 million for transportation purposes. Passage would result in $80 million in general obligation bonds for construction and maintenance of highways and bridges. The state’s ports, harbors, transit and freight rail would receive nearly $20 million.

Michigan

Proposal 1: Statewide Yes

Whether to legalize recreational marijuana use and subject sales to a 10 percent excise tax, in addition to the state’s 6 percent sales tax. An estimated $135 million in annual revenue would be dedicated to local governments, education, and road and bridge repairs.

Missouri

Proposition D: Statewide       No

Would increase the state’s 17-cent-per-gallon fuel tax by a dime to 27 cents. Approval would also authorize the creation of the Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund. The fund would be used to address traffic problems that affect the movement of freight. The tax is estimated to eventually raise $293 million annually for DOT-operated roads and $128 million for local roads.

Oregon

Measure 104: Statewide         No

A constitutional amendment to require a three-fifths supermajority for legislation to make changes in taxes and fees. Specifically, the changes to tax expenditures would apply to exemptions, credits and deductions. In addition, tax and fee creation or increases must also have supermajority approval.

Texas

Proposition A: Collin County Yes

Would authorize issuance of up to $600 million in bonds to pay for “constructing, improving and maintaining nontolled, high-speed highways and freeways.” Service and frontage roads associated with a highway would also get attention. Projects expected to be funded include U.S. 380, U.S. 78, and a north-south corridor.

Proposition B: Collin County Yes

Whether to authorize the county to issue up to $140 million in bonds to pay for arterial roads and bridges. Cities would be required to match funds provided by the county. The amount typically equates to a 50 percent funding match.

Proposition G: City of Austin Yes

Authorize the city to issue up to $160 million in bonds for the planning, construction, reconstruction and improvement of roads, intersections, bridges and urban trails. Street reconstruction would receive the biggest chunk at

$66.5 million. About $4.5 million would be designated for upgrades and installation of new signals and technology.

Utah

Opinion Question 1: Statewide          No

The non-binding question will get voters’ opinion about putting money ordinarily reserved for road use instead towards education. Specifically, fuel tax revenue would help increase salaries for teachers and support staff. A portion of new revenues also would be applied to local roads.

Washington

Initiative 1631: Statewide      No

Whether to impose a fee on carbon content of fossil fuels sold or used in the state and electricity generated or imported into the state. The carbon fee would start at $15 a metric ton of carbon. It is estimated the levy would add about 14 cents to each gallon of fuel. 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.