Tracking the Transportation Initiatives to be Decided Today

While the federal government balks at increasing money for transportation projects, local officials across America are turning to their constituents to get the go ahead for significant transportation investment. What projects are at stake today?

Yonah Freemark tracks the local ballot measures, and one mayoral election, that will have a major impact on funding for urban transportation systems nationwide. We've already looked at what's at stake in the Honolulu mayoral election, so below are a sampling of some of the ballot measures going before voters:

In Memphis: "This city's leadership is promoting a unique approach to improving funding for the area's public transportation system, MATA. By implementing a local tax on gasoline equivalent to 1¢ per gallon sold, the city will be able to raise between $3 to $6 million for transit. Specifically, funds will go to expanding service on 8 bus routes and the downtown trolley."

In Houston: "Since 2003, a quarter of Houston's 1% transit sales tax is redistributed to local communities under the General Mobility Program. This effectively allows cities to build roads ith [sic] money that was originally supposed to be directed to bus operations and light rail expansion. The diversion of funds was initially supposed to end in 2014, but voters are being asked whether they want to extend the diversion until 2025."

In Los Angeles: "Fresh off the passage of Measure R in 2008, L.A.'s Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is proposing extending that half-cent sales tax from 2039 (when it was supposed to expire) to 2069. This extension will allow L.A. County to use projected revenues far into the future to pay for transit and highway investment projects today. If passed, the measure will make it possible to complete many of the region's major mass transit projects, including a subway to UCLA, an airport link, and a downtown connector, far more quickly than originally planned."

Full Story: The Vote 2012

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