A number of local government authorities like cities, counties, and municipalities help fund worthwhile public transit projects — but typically, the measures they use to provide funding must be approved by local voters.
Election Day 2016 will see important ballot measures decided across the country, including in Southeastern states like Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
- A compromise on SB 369 was hammered out among Georgia state legislators at the 11th hour in Atlanta and approved by the city council. Voters will decide on a measure to pay for $2.5 billion in funding over the next 40 years to support bus and rail expansion projects in Atlanta, as well as other service enhancements. However, the deal allows the rest of Fulton County to opt out of future proposals in order to appease representatives who strongly oppose tax increases.
- In Greensboro and Wake County, North Carolina, residents will be voting on measures to raise funds to improve bus service, strengthen community connections, and reduce traffic.
- In Charleston, South Carolina, local residents will be voting on a local sales tax referendum to raise $2.1 billion, mostly for transportation, including new bus rapid transit (BRT) service.
- Virginia Beach residents will vote on a measure to simply voice their support for bringing the Tide light rail to the city center.
Federal funding often isn’t enough to fund local public transit projects on its own — in fact, the federal government usually won’t fund a project without some level of matching funds from the community or state.
Even getting such public transportation funding measures on the ballot is quite a challenge — which makes it all the more important to vote for them on November 8. 2016 ballot initiatives are important opportunities for voters: it’s rare that an issue that makes the ballot and fails is later resurrected and passed. Voters have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build out essential public transportation infrastructure in their local areas.
As supporters of public transit, it’s up to us get out and vote this November! Use our Voices for Public Transit election toolkit to get started today.