Next Tuesday, voters across the county will decide on some 300+ ballot measures that will use tax increases to fund transportation improvements. With the help of our friends at the Eno Center for Transportation, we are exploring how these measures are distributed across California and the county.
These measures could raise nearly $200 billion for transit investments, and billions more to fund improvement of roads, rail and freight. The federal gas tax, traditionally the nation’s primary source of transportation funding, has not been raised in 22 years. In 2014, only about 27 percent of transportation funding was federal, dropping from a high of 35 percent in 1980.
Simultaneously, the nation’s transportation infrastructure is in dire need of investment simply for maintenance, not to mention investment in new roads and transit infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that $170 billion in capital investment is needed annually to improve road conditions across the county, with transit, rail, and ports in similar states of disrepair. Transportation funding needs have been a frequently visited topic of the presidential candidates.
As federal fuel tax revenues and other sources of federal funding for transportation continue to decline, financial responsibility has increasingly shifted to states, counties, and local governments. As of 2011, approximately 30 percent of total transportation funding came from local governments, largely funded by tax ballot measures. So called “self-help” counties that can provide tax funding for local transportation projects also have an advantage in the competition for scarce state and federal funding. (SGV Tribune).
These maps illustrate the widespread reliance on transportation ballot measures, and also reveal geographic differences in the popularity of ballot measures and the type of taxes used to fund transportation.
Transportation taxation ballot measures are most popular in […]