Transit Initiatives on the Ballot in March Nationwide

The Center for Transportation Excellence (CTFE) by the APTA is hard at work tracking more than 20 measures expected to be voted on in March.  This presidential election year is shaping up to be big for transit legislation and the expectation is that number will continue to grow as the year goes on and more communities get their plans on the ballot.

The CTFE has put together the following information regarding transit legislation moving across the nation.


How Public Transit Did In 2019

  • 20 Measures on the Ballot
  • 16 Wins for Public Transit
  • 80% Approval  from Voters

What’s Happening in 2020

  • CFTE can confirm 22 measures in 10 different states, thus far
  • Most measures so far raise funds through a sales tax, followed by property tax and bond measures
  • All measures CFTE is tracking so far are on the ballot for the Presidential primary or general election — communities are avoiding special elections and taking advantage of presidential turnout
  • Roughly one-third are measures on primary election ballot and the rest will be on the ballot for the general

Heading Back To The Ballot

  • This year, we’re seeing a number of communities take another shot at the ballot where they have fallen short in the past
  • Communities that are headed back to the ballot include:
  • Sacramento, CA, where a sales tax measure failed in 2016
  • Contra Costa County, CA, where a sales tax measure failed in 2016
  • Pinellas County, FL, where a sales tax measure failed in 2014
  • Colorado, where a transportation funding measure failed in November
  • Austin, TX, where a bond measure failed in 2014
  • Southeast Michigan, where a 4-county measure failed in 2016

Revenue Types

  • In past years, sales tax measures have been most popular, followed by property tax measures and bond measures
  • However, in 2019, there were an equal number of sales tax measures and bond measures on the ballot
  • In 2020, sales tax measures again lead the pack, showing that 2019 was probably not indicative of a larger trend in funding sources

Where Measures Are Happening

  • California and Michigan, after only having one measure each in 2019, have the most measures of any state so far
  • Both states have consistently had high numbers of measures in on-cycle election years
  • Other states with multiple measures coming up include Oregon, Ohio, and Texas

Going Big

  • Across the board, communities are taking advantage of turnout of the presidential election to put big measures on the ballot
  • Measures aiming for large amounts of funding have already been reported in Portland, OR, Austin, TX, San Diego, CA, Orange County, FL, and Hamilton County, OH, among other communities
  • The largest measure reported on thus far is FASTER Bay Area, a $100 billion transportation mega-measure that is being spearheaded by business and community leaders in California’s Bay Area

To stay up to date on these initiatives, check out the CTFE website for more information.