Millions of Americans just voted in favor of ballot proposals to improve and expand public transportation in their communities, a silver lining in a mostly miserable election cycle. There were a record 48 ballot proposals across the country that would have raised up to $200 billion for better trains and buses, more bike-sharing and ride-sharing services, and more walkable cities. Thirty-three of those measures passed, for a success rate of 69 percent, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
The number of November 8th ballot measures and their collective total amount were the largest in history, APTA says. It’s a huge success for our country’s struggling mass transit infrastructure that over two-thirds of these proposals were approved.
The winning proposals include Measure M in Los Angeles, which would raise $120 billion for numerous light rail extensions and an improved bus network, Sound Transit 3 in Seattle, that will spend about $54 billion over 25 years to expand train and bus lines, and a $2.5 billion plan to improve Atlanta’s light rail system. The Center of Transportation Excellence has a complete list of the winning and losing measures here. (Some are still too close to call.)
As Election Day drew close, some transit supporters were worried that opponents would use the popularity of Uber and Lyft to convince voters they didn’t need to pay for better public transportation. That argument appears that have fallen on deaf ears.
The public transit lobbying group congratulated Donald Trump on his presidential victory, noting it was ready to work with his transition team on infrastructure improvements specifically.
“As nearly 60 percent of the trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes, we believe that a significant portion of his infrastructure proposal should be dedicated to public transportation,” said Doran Barnes, the group’s chair, and Richard White, its acting president, in a joint statement.