Transportation Sales Taxes
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who took office on Jan. 7, wants to hike the state's 28.6-cents gas tax, 15% lower than the national average, so cities like Duluth won't have to ask voters to pass sales tax increases to fund local road repairs.
It is now up to the Bay Area's transportation planning agency to determine when to ask voters to hike tolls on seven Bay Area bridges, by how much, and whether to phase the increase. A bill to allow voters to fund Caltrain was also signed.
The California Legislature approved bills to allow voters to decide on hiking sales taxes and tolls for regional transportation. Gov. Jerry Brown already signed a bill to allow San Mateo County voters to hike sales taxes for transportation.
The Daily Journal
Partisan politics killed what was labeled as a bipartisan effort to increase funding for Colorado's roads by allowing voters in November to determine whether to raise the state sales tax to fund a bond measure.
The Denver Post
Up against an unexpected federal requirement to produce substantially more funds for a crucial rail project, San Mateo County's transportation authority showed the importance of "self-help" counties that control local transportation sales tax funds.
The Daily Journal
Sales taxes are regressive, but unlike the gas tax, they bear no relationship to transportation. Should a November transportation ballot measure pass, sales taxes in three cities in the county of Los Angeles would exceed 10 percent.
A transportation sales tax can be a designated state or local sales tax where revenues are used for transportation, or a sales tax applied to fuel sales. A bill in Minnesota would grab sales taxes paid on auto parts, car rentals and leases.
This St. Louis Patch-Dispatch editorial analyzes the legislature as well as the bill to raise gas taxes two-cent a year for three years, taking aim at Republican House members who will be "automatic no votes." Illinois may also increase its gas tax.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
After Atlanta's failed transportation tax referendum, commentators from across the country lamented the region's missed opportunity. Yonah Freemark looks south to Miami, a cautionary example where lofty goals for expanded transit have come up short.
the transport politic
Voters in the Atlanta metro area overwhelmingly rejected a 1% sales tax increase to fund $7.2 billion in transportation improvements. The result is being framed as a victory for anti-government Tea Party allies and a loss for the region's economy.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The newly formed Alameda County Transportation Commission is proposing a permanent, half-cent sales tax be placed on before the voters of the second most populous Bay Area county for the Nov. 2012 ballot for a variety of transportation purposes.
Contra Costa Times
In this commentary, it is noted that when the Sacramento transportation 1/2-cent sales tax measure was up for renewal in 2004, it was decided <em>not to include cycling improvements</em> after a poll showed it would detract from the measure's passing
The Sacramento Bee
Los Angeles County voters narrowly approved Measure R, a half-cent sales tax measure, by 67.4% (2/3 was necessary) to fund rail and road projects, including the Subway to the Sea. The victory is seen as a huge coup for LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Los Angeles Times