Although 2015 may be an “off” election year, many states still held elections on critical issues. While some voted for Governor, state legislators and mayor, voters in Louisiana, Maine, and Texas were asked to make important decisions about the future of their state’s infrastructure.
Transportation was the theme of this year’s ballot measure and if you’ve ever experienced a bumpy ride to work or gridlock on a recent road trip, you can probably understand why. States are using the fall elections to get voter feedback on the steps to take. Here’s what the election night returns say:
- On October 24, Louisiana voters approved a measure to create an infrastructure bank in the form of Question 2. This ballot measure granted the legislature to allocate revenue sources to fund a “state infrastructure bank” for the purpose of funding transportation projects. A second ballot initiative on infrastructure, Question 1 was rejected by voters. The measure asked voters to allow the legislature to designate a portion of excess mineral tax revenue to the Transportation Stabilization Fund. Even though the measure would not have created an additional tax burden on Louisianans, it was still rejected.
- Maine put Question 3 before its voters asking them to approve an additional $85 million for transportation projects. Mainers said “yes” to invest in the construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of a number of sectors of Maine’s infrastructure including roads, ports, freight and passenger rail, and airports. It is estimated that the state’s $85 million bond could result in an approximately $121.5 million match in federal and other funds.
- Texas had two infrastructure related measures to put before voters – who said yes to both! Proposition 7 builds upon the funding provided for by the passage of Proposition 1 in 2014. This measure will designate a percentage of sales tax and motor vehicle sales, use and rental taxes to the state highway fund. This particular revenue stream would specifically be used to fund non-toll roads and reduce certain types of transportation-related debt. Meanwhile, Proposition 5 increases the population cap to enable of small counties (a population of 7,500 or fewer) to authorize private road development and maintenance.
Think of your daily commute as you head out to work, school or play this fall. Remember the wear and tear suffered by your car and/or the countless hours you’ve given up to traffic snarls along the way (hopefully not both). These states are good examples of how making your opinion heard can result in steps in the right direction for infrastructure.