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Voters Deliver Good News to Public Transportation Industry; VTA Secures $6 Billion

In the wake of a historic win for public transportation on Election Day, Nov. 8, Passenger Transport continues its coverage of some of the largest, most significant measures in the nation.

The initial story appeared in the Nov. 11 Passenger Transport Express.

Voters in Santa Clara County, CA, approved Measure B, intended to raise $6.3 billion over 30 years for projects at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). The half-cent sales tax increase takes effect in April 2017. The vote hasn’t been officially certified, but the unofficial results show passage by 71.2 percent of the vote, which is the highest passage rate in state history, agency officials said.

This figure includes $1.5 billion to add six miles to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District’s extension in the county, $700 million for Caltrain grade separations, $500 million for VTA operations and $314 million for Caltrain corridor improvements, among other transportation initiatives.

“Our intention throughout what has been a very thorough process of public engagement has been to make sure those who rely on our transportation system and help pay for it had a say in how decisions were made for the projects that would be paid for with their money,” said Nuria Fernandez, VTA general manager and chief executive officer. “We believe the process to identify what would be included in the measure went a long way to instill confidence in the voters who ultimately  approved it.”

Voters in Wake County, NC, passed a half-cent sales tax by 53 percent to help fund the $2.3 billion GoTriangle regional public transit plan, which includes commuter rail and expanded bus service.

Franklin County, OH, voted by 72 percent to renew a one-quarter percent sales tax for 10 years that will provide $62 million a year to support the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus.

Three jurisdictions in the Washington, DC, suburbs approved bond measures supporting public transportation: Prince George’s County, MD, a $200 million measure that includes the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line; Fairfax County, VA, $120 million including rail projects; and Arlington County, VA, a $58.8 million bond that includes Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority projects.

Voters statewide in Maine approved a $100 million transportation bond measure to fund an array of transportation projects throughout the state, including public transit. The measure passed with 61 percent of the vote.

This report and the previous coverage do not summarize all of the transit initiatives that passed. For details, find APTA’s news release. For a complete list, click here.
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