Friday, November 5, 2010

2010 Transportation Elections Wrap-Up

It was a good year for transportation ballot measures! Despite the economy and the pummeling of electoral candidates with more liberal spending views, 77% of transportation ballot measures were approved in 2010! On Election Day, measures appeared on the ballot in 13 states, with 22 out of 30 measures winning. This amounts to nearly $500 million in funding for transportation over the next five years! Throughout the course of the year, voters were faced with 56 measures for transportation and approved 43 of them. When added to funding approved earlier in the year, voters have supported over $1 billion in transportation investment in 2010!

November Election Highlights:

  • Over 75% of bonds were approved
    • Two counties in Virginia approved over $150 million in bonds to support  WMATA's Capital Improvement Program 
    • In Rhode Island, more than 70% of voters approved a statewide bond for $4.7 million  to purchase and rehabilitate buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority 
  •  Property tax increases were the most popular type of finance measure on the ballot and the most successful, with an approval rate of 78%
    • Increases or renewals were successful in four Michigan jurisdictions, two West Virginia cities and two counties in Ohio.
  • Vehicle fees became a new and noteworthy financing tool with a 71% success rate
    • 5 out of 7counties in the San Francisco Bay Area voted to increase vehicle registration fees by $10 to support transportation investments
  • Only 10% of measures yesterday were non-finance.  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Registration is Open for the Transit Funding Workshop!

The Center for Transportation Excellence and the American Public Transportation Association will be hosting a half-day Transit Funding Workshop this August! Join transit advocates, agency representatives, community officials and ballot measure campaign professionals to get the latest information on transportation ballot measures—from election trends to tools for success.

The workshop is scheduled for 8:00 AM - 12:15 PM on Friday, August 6 in Seattle, Washington.  Topics that will be covered include Building Campaigns & Effective Coalitions, Marketing & Media Strategies, and Transit Funding in Washington.

To Register:
Please visit to download the registration form. Completed forms can be faxed or emailed to CFTE. Registration fee is $65.

Friday, May 21, 2010

May Election Update

Three transportation measures appeared on the ballots in West Virginia on May 11. Two property tax levies were approved in support of public transportation and one measure failed in an incredibly close election by three votes!

Huntington and Cabell County, West Virginia
Voters in the City of Huntington and the County of Cabell, WV gave an overwhelming endorsement of transit when they voted on May 11. Huntington and Cabell County voters approved the renewal of two Tri-State Transit Authority (TTA) levies by over 70%. The TTA levies, a city-wide measure and a county-wide measure, will each begin on July 1, 2012 and last for five years. Combined, the two levies are expected to generate about  $7.3 million over five years.

Glen Dale, West Virginia
Voters in Glen Dale, WV failed to approve a property tax levy to support local bus routes by a mere 3 votes! Had it been approved, the levy would have provided funding to continue and expand Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority (OVRTA) service through the city. Since the levy failed, the Glen Dale bus route will likely be stopped. OVRTA will have the final say as to whether the route can continue without any financial support from the city of Glen Dale.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Six Stops to Success- Fifth Stop is Tomorrow!

Join us tomorrow April 23 at 1:00pm EDT for our fifth webinar Social Media: Friending, Tweeting & Blogging Your Way to Success!

The use of new technology in transportation advocacy campaigns is rapidly moving from a novelty to a necessity. This webinar is designed to provide an overview of the online tools available to advocates and effective ways to employ them.

The session will be moderated by Stephanie Vance, the "Advocacy Guru" of Advocacy Associates, LLC. The panelists will include Andrew Schmid, Government and Community Relations Specialist from Sound Transit in Seattle; Sarah Goodyear, Editor and Community Manager of Streetsblog Network and Jeff Wood, the New Media Director/Chief Cartographer at Reconnecting America, and the voice behind his personal transit blog, The Overhead Wire.

All webinars are scheduled on Fridays at 1:00pm Eastern Time. To register, please visit or!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Big Win for Transit in St. Louis!

Voters approve Proposition A!

Yesterday, 63% of voters in St. Louis approved a half-cent sales tax increase to support the Metro regional transit system. The measure is expected to generate about $75 million a year and will be used to expand service and restore cuts to bus routes that were made after voters rejected a tax increase in November 2008.

This was the second transit election of 2010 and the second win! A sales tax increase in Walla Walla, WA was approved by 76% of the voters in February. Upcoming elections include a sales tax measure in Bellingham, WA on the April 27 ballot and property tax measures on the ballot in Glen Dale and Huntington,West Virginia on  May 11.

Friday, April 2, 2010

New Poll Demonstrates High Level of Support for Investment in Public Transportation

Good news for transit advocates! The results of a new nationwide poll demonstrate that a majority of voters in every type of community—urban, suburban, small town and rural—believe that a larger portion of transportation spending should go towards public transit. Even more importantly, a majority of voters are willing to increase their own taxes to expand or improve their transportation options. 

The survey, conducted on behalf of Transportation for America, was designed to assess the attitudes of registered voters towards public transportation, walking and biking.  The results of the poll are overwhelmingly in favor of increasing transportation choices and funding.  This support has been regularly demonstrated at the ballot box over the past decade, as CFTE has documented that 70% of transportation ballot measures have been approved by voters. For communities struggling to provide the necessary financial support for public transportation, these results can help support the decision to place a funding measure on the local or regional ballot. 

Many campaigns struggle with how to convince the segment of voters that do not use the transit system that it is worth voting to support.  In the recent St. Louis campaign, slogans like “Some of us ride it. All of us need it.” have been used to get that message to voters. The survey found that this message resonates, as more than a quarter of respondents said that the most compelling reason for improving and expanding public transportation would be to provide more affordable transportation choices to those who need them and to enable people to get where they need to go.

More information on the poll results can be found HERE

Monday, March 22, 2010

Webinar Rescheduled!

Due to technical difficulties Making Your Message Matter has been rescheduled to this Friday, March 26, 2010 at 1:00pm EDT. If you were unable to participate last Friday, consider this your second chance! If you did sign in to the webinar, we apologize for the inconvenience and hope you will be able to join us and our wonderful speakers this Friday for a do over!

Making Your Message Matter

Connect with media and communication experts to gather insights and perspectives that can transform your public relations and media efforts.

Rosemary Sheridan,VP Marketing and Communications, APTA
Barry Barnes , Partner, TBWB Strategies, San Francisco, CA
Oliver Griswold, Account Supervisor, GMMB, Washington DC
Kyle Curtis, Creative Director, R&R Partners, Salt Lake City, UT
Michael Navarre, R&R Partners, Salt Lake City, UT

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today President Obama signed the HIRE Act into law, which includes a long-term extension for the surface transportation program through December 31, 2010.The HIRE ACT will also transfer $19.5 billion into the Highway Trust fund to ensure that it remains solvent during that period. This includes $4.8 billion that will be transferred to the Mass Transit Account. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will now be able to allocate the remaining 58 percent of formula funds appropriated for FY 2010.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Register Now for Six Stops to Success!

The free, six-part webinar training series continues on Friday, March 19 with Making Your Message Matter. Even if your community is not looking to go to the ballot in 2010, it is never too early to begin laying the groundwork! This session will be moderated by Rosemary Sheridan, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at APTA. The panelists will include Jared Boigon from TBWB Strategies, Oliver Griswold from GMMB and Kyle Curtis and Michael Navarre from R&R Partners.

Six Stops to Success will continue with webinars once a month through May. All webinars are scheduled on Fridays at 1:00pm Eastern Time. To register, please visit or!

Six Stops to Success:
Putting your Transportation Message in Service


* Friday, November 13, 2009    Election Trends: Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future
* Friday, January 15, 2010         Getting Started on a Ballot Measure Campaign
* Friday, February 19, 2010       Building a Winning Coalition


*Friday, March 19, 2010           Making Your Message Matter
*Friday, April 23, 2010              Social Media: Friending, Tweeting & Blogging Your Way to Success
*Friday, May 14, 2010              Silencing the Naysayers

Transit on April Ballot in Whatcom County, WA

Transit ridership has been growing in Whatcom County, Washington at
a record pace. Whatcom Transit Authority (WTA) reports that between
2006 and 2009 ridership on WTA buses increased by 52 percent.
However, the current economic climate has forced WTA to make over
$2 million in cuts and they are facing over $4 million in
additional cuts over the next year.

A group of community leaders have formed a committee called The
People for Whatcom Transit. This coalition of transit supporters
have been working to ensure WTA has the ability to continue to
provide public transportation by placing a measure on the April
27th ballot. The measure asks voters to raise the local sales tax
an additional 0.02 percent to prevent future transit cuts.
A recent survey indicated that 56 percent of residents would
support a sales tax increase to maintain or improve transit
service. To find out more about this measure visit the campaign

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 9- California Transit Initiatives Training Workshop

Join CFTE next week in Sacramento for the California Transit Initiatives Training Workshop!

On March 9, join transit advocates, agency representatives, community officials and ballot measure campaign professionals from around the state to get the latest information on transportation ballot measures--from election trends to tools for success. This workshop is an abridged version of the biannual Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference tailored to meet the needs of communities preparing to go to the ballot.

Sessions will provide case studies from successful campaigns, address how to use media and communication strategies to get the transit message out, and explain how to build a strong, supportive coalition. Interested in the November 2010 California statewide measure to close loopholes and prevent the state from raiding transit funds? A special afternoon session will provide an overview of this initiative and detail ways to get involved!


9:00 am Welcome & Introductions
9:15 am Winning Campaigns & Effective Coalitions

10:30 am Marketing & Media Strategies that Work

11:45 am Lunch & Keynote Presentation

1:00 pm Building the Transit Vote Coalition

2:00 pm California Statewide Measure

3:45 pm Workshop Adjourns

Registration for the workshop is available at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Walla Walla Voters Approve Sales Tax Increase by 76%!

2010 is off to a good start for transportation ballot measures!
On February 9, voters in Walla Walla, WA approved a sales tax measure placed on the ballot by Valley Transit. Despite only needing a simply majority to pass, voters approved the measure by a whopping 76%! The transit sales tax for the Walla Walla County Public Transportation Benefit Area, which includes Walla Walla and College Place, is now 0.6 percent. The 0.3 percent increase will help support the agency's bus system and prevent service cuts that were planned for the near future.

Locals Support Transit Even when the State Cuts Funding!
In 2000, a state repeal of the motor vehicle tax led to a 53 percent decrease in revenue for Valley Transit. The agency initially sought to close the revenue gap with fare increases and service cuts, but this only sustained the transit agency until recently. In the last year, Valley Transit has tripled fares (from 25 cents to 75 cents) and finally decided to give voters the option to raise the sales tax or prepare for an additional 50 percent service cut. As we have seen over and over again around the country, the voting public is not afraid to raise taxes to support transportation choices!