Results: WA, OH and TX residents vote on transportation issues

| 11/9/2009

Election Day this past week wasn’t filled with the national issues that drew as much attention as it did a year ago, but a number of communities throughout the country did make decisions on whether to fund transportation-related initiatives.  

Included here are the results of some local ballot efforts.

A proposition on the ballot in the city of Bremerton, WA, failed to win approval from voters. Nearly 70 percent of people who cast ballots said “no” to a proposal to increase the price of vehicle tags by $30 for the next three years.

The fee would have raised about $900,000 annually for repaving roads and sidewalks. Supporters said the amount could have been enough to give the city what it needs for matching funds for federal grants.

Another local ballot initiative in Washington state to aid transportation work had a different outcome. By a 4-to-1 margin, voters in Asotin County decided to continue the current sales tax to help fund the Asotin County Public Transportation Benefit Area. The tax, which amounts to 20 cents to every $100, was set to expire soon and needed voter approval to renew it for another five years.

The use of the revenue is limited to funding the operation, maintenance and capital needs of the public transportation system. Supporters said the money is used as a match for federal funds.

Voters in Ohio’s Jerusalem Township approved a tax levy for general construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, and repair of streets and bridges. By a vote of 58 percent to 42 percent, voters opted to renew the tax at a rate up to two mills of each $1 of valuation for five years. Every $1 of valuation amounts to 20 cents for each $100 of valuation.

Two other communities in the Buckeye State cast ballots on whether to get rid of speed enforcement cameras. A city charter amendment narrowly won approval in the city of Heath. With 51 percent of the vote, the central Ohio town decided to bar further use of 10 cameras installed earlier this year to ticket speeders and red-light runners.

In southern Ohio, 72 percent of voters in the city of Chillicothe approved a similar issue against the cameras.

Voters in College Station, TX, also decided to have red light cameras taken down in their community. By a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, voters chose to abolish use of the nine cameras posted at seven intersections in town since 2008.

The cameras have generated a reported $1.3 million that is used to pay for operating expenses. The rest of the money is split with the state.

For more results on transportation initiatives on ballots, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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