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11/1/2013
Election 2013: Transportation-related initiatives on many ballots
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, voters in communities around the country will make decisions on transportation-related initiatives and on lawmakers who will have a say on the future of transportation in their states. While the issues aren’t as glamorous as a national election, their significance to communities warrants attention from voters. OOIDA’s Land Line recently took a look at many of these issues. Here is a sampling of what was found.

ARIZONA (polls open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
In Maricopa County, voters in three communities will decide on transportation questions totaling nearly $190 million.

Voters in the city of Mesa will choose whether to authorize the city to increase its debt by $79 million through general obligation bonds. Question 2 on the fall ballot would apply the money raised through an increase in property tax for transportation improvements.

The funds would be used to build, repair and improve the city’s streets, highways, bridges and street lights. New bike and walking paths would also get a portion of the money.

Ballots in neighboring Scottsdale will include four questions asking voters to increase the debt for city services in four areas.

Question 4 on the local ballot covers $99 million in transportation improvements throughout the city. Projects that would benefit include improving access to state Route 101, upgrading traffic signals for the north-south freeway and bridge upgrades

Fountain Hills’ voters will also decide on road bonds. Question 1 on the ballot would authorize the town to increase its debt by $8.2 million through general obligation bonds.

The community located northeast of Scottsdale would use the money to pay for transportation and street upgrades. Specifically, the funds would be used to rebuild Saguaro Boulevard.

CALIFORNIA (polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Communities along the coast will decide whether to raise more money for transportation work through higher taxes.

Voters in the city of El Monte will choose whether to renew a one-half percent “transactions and use” tax for five years. Measure GG on the ballot would continue to provide revenue to support essential public services, including street repairs and lighting.

In the San Francisco area, voters in Rohnert Park will decide whether to maintain a sales tax rate of 9.5 percent. The state gets 7.5 percent of the sales tax with county and local governments claiming the rest.

Measure A would renew a one-half percent sales tax, or 50 cents per $100 purchase, to benefit work that includes street paving and pothole repair in the community located off the 101 Freeway.

The fee is scheduled to sunset in 2015. If approved by voters, the tax would continue to be collected unless the city council decides to end it.

A few hours’ drive south in Marina, voters will choose whether to charge the city’s two card rooms a municipal tax. Measure I would authorize a 5 percent card room tax on all revenue.

The community located off the Pacific Coast Highway would get an estimated $175,000 to benefit general municipal services such as public safety and street maintenance.

Voters in four communities in Marin County will decide on sales tax measures that would benefit transportation work.

In the city of San Rafael, voters will cast ballots on whether to renew a 0.5 percent sales tax and add another 0.25 percent to benefit the city’s general fund. The taxes would be collected for 20 years.

Implemented in 2005, the tax raises about $7 million annually for repairing city streets and maintaining emergency services. Measure E on the ballot would put the total sales tax rate at 9.25 percent.

Ballots in neighboring San Anselmo will ask voters about adding 0.5 percent to the sales tax rate for the next 10 years. Measure D on the ballot would benefit efforts to repair potholes, repave roads, reduce traffic congestion, as well as maintain and improve street medians, sidewalks and drainage.

In nearby Larkspur, voters can cast ballots to determine whether another 0.5 percent will be added to the 8.5 percent sales tax rate. Measure C would supply the city with revenue for local streets and roads for five years.

Voters in Corte Madera will decide whether to increase the city’s 8.5 percent sales tax rate to 9 percent. Approval of Measure B would provide another 0.5 percent from the sales tax to address local needs that include street repairs.

The community off the 101 Freeway would be charged the higher tax rate for six years.

MAINE (polls open by 10 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.)
Question 3 is a $100 million bond proposal for transportation projects. Voters will decide whether they want to authorize bonds in the amount of $76 million for highway improvements. The rest would be directed to bridges, ports and rail and local governments.

In addition, approval of the transportation bond would trigger another $154 million in federal and other funds.

ALSO OF NOTE
Voters in New Jersey and Virginia will cast ballots to decide who will be their governor for the next four years. New Jersey voters also will decide on filling Assembly and Senate seats while Virginia voters will do the same for House seats.

Special elections are also being held next week in various states throughout the country. State legislative seats are on certain ballots in Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Texas and Washington.

Later in the month, voters in single districts in Louisiana (District 87), California (45), Iowa (13) and Tennessee (91) will get a chance to cast ballots to fill a state legislative seat. Voters in two Wisconsin Assembly districts (21 and 69) will also fill seats.

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