WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 15, 2021) – Voters in East Baton Rouge Parish, LA on Saturday passed a 10-year property tax renewal for the Capital Area Transit System, re-authorizing a vital stream of funding to keep the agency moving and fund the area’s transit future. Saturday’s win in Baton Rouge was the last public transit measure of the year, and joined 10 other wins for public transit throughout the year to solidify 2021 as public transit’s first year with a 100% success record at the ballot box.
“Baton Rouge voters have spoken, and they want public transportation,” said Josh Cohen, Executive Director of APTA’s Center for Transportation Excellence. “This weekend’s vote sends a message to Louisiana leaders, at home and in Washington: Public transportation is vital in Baton Rouge and demands undivided support. Transit isn’t a ‘nice to have,’ it’s a ‘must have.’”
Cohen continued, “City and transit officials in Baton Rouge have worked hard to instill trust in voters that the money will fund services and mobility options that the public rely on. Voters across the country this year showed us what we already knew: public transportation is broadly popular and an essential part of our communities. It’s a great omen for the many communities who will be going to the ballot next year.”
Overall, 2021 saw a smaller number of measures for public transit than previous years, but an unprecedented level of success. Many transit systems this year have focused on advocating for federal assistance, utilizing American Rescue Plan funds, and recovering from COVID ridership dips. However, those systems that did forge ahead found that their communities were enthusiastically in support of better-funded public transit.
This continues a trend we saw in 2020, where public transit saw a 90% success rate: in the face of the huge changes and difficult challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters recognize the key role of public transit in keeping our communities together and our economies moving.
“Even as times and circumstances change, what remains consistent is the voting public’s understanding that public transportation is critical to the future of their communities and part of a forward-looking vision,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “The 100% approval rate for year-to-date ballot measures certainly underscores that, even in uncertain times, communities of all sizes see public transportation and its numerous benefits as vital to the social and economic recovery of our nation.”
The full list of measures winning victory this year included:
- A measure in Lucas County, OH that would add Lucas County to the TARTA Board of Trustees, expand the TARTA service area to include the entire county, and change the current local property tax funding TARTA to a much more sustainable half-cent sales tax.
- The renewal of a 10-year, 10.6-mill property tax to fund CATS in East Baton Rouge Parish, LA.
- A $38.7 mil bond measure in Arlington, VA 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 Kalamazoo County, MI’s property tax to fund paratransit services.
- The renewal of a 5-year, .75millagefor ALTRAN in Alger County, MI.
- The renewal of a millage for MAX Transit in Holland, MI.
- The renewal & increase of a millage for Harbor Transit and local streets in Grand Haven Township, MI from .91150 mills to .95 mills for 6 years.
- The renewal of a 5-year, .6 millage for MTA in Flint, MI.
- A $515 mil transportation bond measure in Gilbert, AZ including $49 mil for public transportation improvements.
- A $100 mil transportation bond measure in Maine including $15 mil for public transit improvements.
- The renewal and increase of a Durango, CO lodgers tax to 5.25%. The tax is used for a variety of purposes, including 20% for transportation and transit as well as an additional 11% in a flexible fund that can be used for multiple purposes including transportation.
APTA’s Center for Transportation Excellence tracks all of the measures at its website and through its Twitter account.