In last week’s election, voters across the U.S. passed 5 out of 5 measures supporting public transit, bringing public transit to a record a 100% win rate in 2021 so far.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 9, 2021) – Voters in all regions of the country on Election Day last week continued to voice their support for public transit by approving 5 out of 5 state and local measures supporting public transit on the ballot. The results were made official as the final votes were counted for a Gilbert, AZ bond initiative this weekend. Election day’s 5 measures add to 5 other public transit measures already passed by voters this year, bringing this year’s total to 10 out of 10 wins for public transit, a 100% win rate.
One outstanding measure for the year, in Baton Rouge, LA, will be considered by voters on November 13th. Should that measure pass, 2021 will be public transit’s first 100% success record at the ballot box.
Overall, 2021 saw a smaller number of measures for public transit than previous years, but a high level of success. Many transit systems this year have focused on lobbying 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.”
“Though it was a smaller election this year, some communities couldn’t afford to wait for more public transportation funding to come in,” said Josh Cohen, Executive Director of APTA’s Center for Transportation Excellence. “I’m heartened to see voters meet the moment and pass every measure considered this year so far — not only will it make an immediate difference for these communities, it’s a great omen for a busy 2022.”
The measures winning victory last Tuesday 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.
- A $100 mil transportation bond measure in Maine including $15 mil for public transit improvements.
- The renewal of Kalamazoo County, MI’s property tax to fund paratransit services.
- A $515 mil transportation bond measure in Gilbert, AZ including $49 mil for public transportation improvements.
- 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