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State and Local Elections Illustrate Voters’ Support for Public Transit Nationwide

Time and again, voters are taking to the ballot box in support of increased public transit investments. Together, we are sending a message to lawmakers that America strongly supports public transportation.

While 2021 saw a smaller number of public transit measures on the ballot, those that did make it saw an astonishing level of success. On Election Day 2021, voters across the country passed five out of five state and local ballot measures calling for increased investments in public transit.

These wins—on top of five other public transportation measures that voters passed earlier in the year and one that was passed shortly after Election Day—gave Voices for Public Transit a record 100% win rate for the year. This continues and even strengthens a trend we saw in 2020, when public transit saw a 90% success rate on the ballot.

Voting YES on Public Transit Investments

In 2021, voters nationwide took to the polls in support of public transit, passing the following ballot measures and initiatives:

  • A $38.7 million bond measure in Arlington, Virginia to finance the cost of various capital projects for the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority and other transit pedestrian, road, or transportation projects.
  • The renewal of a property tax Kalamazoo County, Michigan to fund paratransit services.
  • The renewal of a property tax in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, to fund the Capital Area Transit System, which provides bus services across Baton Rouge.
  • A $515 million transportation bond measure in Gilbert, Arizona, including $49 million for public transportation improvements.
  • A $100 million transportation bond measure in Maine, including $15 million for public transit improvements.

In addition, voters in Ohio, Michigan, and Colorado all voted for various ballot measures and initiatives to increase funding for public transportation.

Public Transit on the Ballot in 2022

Already, 2022 is shaping up to be another strong year for public transit on the ballot. According to APTA’s Center for Transportation Excellence, another 25 pro-public transit measures made it to the ballot this year. So far, 17 of those measures have already been decided, with voters approving 15 and defeating two—giving public transit a roughly 88% win rate so far.

The midterm elections in November will give Voices for Public Transit a chance to increase that success rate even further. Voters in at least six states—Massachusetts, North Carolina, Michigan, Florida, California, and Colorado—will all have an opportunity to vote on a range of ballot measures and initiatives that would increase local public transit investments.

This November, be sure to keep an eye out on your local ballot for any measures that would increase public transit investment in your community and consider voting to support those measures. As more cities, counties, and states continue to weigh funding options to match federal investments made in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, it’s likely that some of these decisions will fall to voters.

Together, Voices for Public Transit can continue to make public transportation a winning election issue by voting for public transit ballot measures or supporting candidates who understand the need for strong public transportation in our communities.

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