2012 November Ballot Initiatives


This past Tuesday, voters across the country went to the polls and let their voices be heard.  Voters in 39 states were asked to decide 188 ballot propositions – the most since 2006.

ASCE members in 5 states -Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine and Oklahoma were sent Key Alerts in regards to state-wide ballot initiatives dealing with infrastructure issues in those states.

If you live in one of those states did you receive the Alert?  Did you pass it along to your peers?  Word-of-mouth promotion of an issue is often the most persuasive!



Type:  Bonding for Transportation Projects
Voters were asked to give permission to the State to borrow $195.4 million to fund 18 port and port-related transportation projects around the state, and also $254.5 million to finance highway and road projects in different regions.
Result:  Passed 57%-43%


Type:  Sales Tax for Transportation Projects
Voters were asked to implement a half-percent sales tax in the state. This revenue generated from this ballot initiative, also known as Issue 1, would be used to leverage bonds to pay for creating a statewide four-lane grid and adding capacity to the existing four-lane highways statewide.Result:  Passed 57%-43%
Result:  Passed 58%-42%


Type:  Bonding for Dam and Reservoir Safety
Voters were asked to authorize the State to issue special purpose revenue bonds and use the proceeds from the bonds to assist dam and reservoir owners to make their facilities compliant with current safety standards.
Result:  Failed, Only 49% in favor of
While the ‘Yes’ Votes outnumbered the ’No’ votes 49% to 40%, with 11% of the vote leaving the item blank the ballot initiative failed to get a majority of the vote in the state and therefore did not pass.



Question 4
Type:  Bonding for Transportation Projects
Voters were asked to give permission to the State to borrow $51.5 million to fund transportation projects around the state which in turn would make the State eligible for at least , $105 million in matching funds.
Result:  Passed 72%-28%

Question 5
Type:  Bonding for Water Projects
Voters were asked to give permission to the State to borrow $7.9 million to leverage $39.6 million in federal grants to fund the State Revolving Fund (SRF).
Result:  Passed 63%-37%


Type:  Bonding for Water Projects
Voters were asked to approve constitutional amendment that creates the Water Infrastructure Credit Enhancement Reserve fund, and authorizes the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to provide financing to local communities for water infrastructure projects at lower interest rates.
Result:  Passed 57%-43%


In addition to these statewide initiatives there were also many local initiatives with a broad impact.  Here is a listing of some of the most significant and their results.

Los Angeles County, California:  Los Angeles County weighed in on a 30-year extension of a half-cent transportation sales tax. Measure J is a linchpin of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s plans to remake the nation’s premier car centric city. And it would tack another 30 years on Measure R, which was narrowly approved by voters in 2009 and is expected to bring in around $40 billion over its lifetime.
Result:  Failed. 65% in favor of-35% against.  This measure required 66.66% approval.

Alameda County, California:  Residents were asked to approve Measure B1, a plan that would extend a current half-cent transportation sales tax and tack another half-cent on top. This would create $7.7 billion over 30 years for a tax that would be employed in perpetuity, though regional project lists would get reevaluated every 20 years. That money would go toward the regional BART system, reinstate bus service cuts during the recession and enact a complete streets policy.
Result:  Failed. 66% in favor of-34% against.  This measure required 66.66% approval.

El Paso County, Colorado:  Voters were asked to approve a ten-year renewal of a 0.55% sales tax for the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. Revenue will be used to support 150 capital projects, approximately 3% of which are transit-related.  The current tax is set to expire December 31, 2014. If approved, the tax would be extended until 2024.
Result:  Passed 72%-18% 

Orange County, North Carolina: A measure in this Chapel Hill community between Durham and Raleigh could signal the expansion of regional rail. Residents will vote on a half-cent sales tax increase to allow for enhanced bus and light-rail service. Investments could reach $661 million. This would mark the second of three counties needed to link the popular Research Triangle region by transit.
Result:  Passed 59%-31%

Richland County, South Carolina:  Known as the “transportation penny,” this one-cent sales tax increase will go toward major road, bike and greenway projects in a county that includes Columbia. Advocates say it will generate more than $1 billion over the next 22 years
Result:  Passed 53%-47%

Memphis, Tennessee:  Memphis is asking for a one-cent increase in the gas tax to fund the Memphis Area Transit Authority. If approved the move would bring about $3 million per year in additional funding.
Result:  Failed. 38% in favor of-62% against.

Pierce County, Washington: This Tacoma area measure would add a .3 percent sales tax to salvage public transportation. The county has already cut its bus service by about 40 percent. Without additional revenue, it could slash around 50 percent more. The move could generate $28 million annually.

Result:  Still Too Close to Call

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