Missouri metro voters reject transit plans; NC city voters OK road money

| 11/20/2008

Voters in Missouri’s two largest metropolitan areas and in one North Carolina community cast ballots earlier this month on transportation-related initiatives that are of particular interest to truckers.

In Kansas City, MO, voters had their say on an alternative to roads. The Nov. 4 ballot asked voters to decide whether to help fund an $815 million starter light-rail route.

By a margin of 45 percent in favor and 55 opposed, voters rejected a proposal to authorize a three-eighths-cent sales tax increase for 25 years. The revenue would have helped build a 14-mile connector linking the city to the north and south.

Opponents cited a lack of specifics in the route for the failed plan. They also blamed the uncertainty of federal funding.

Across Missouri another transit initiative was up for consideration in St. Louis County. Proposition M on the countywide ballot met the same fate.

In a close election, 52 percent of voters were opposed to authorizing a half-cent sales tax increase for public transit.

Half of the $80 million that was projected to be generated annually would have been used for transit operation and maintenance costs. The rest of the money was earmarked for a MetroLink expansion.

In the hours following Election Day, supporters of the proposition said the results likely would lead to service cuts and higher fares. The end of nighttime service also was mentioned as a possibility.

In North Carolina, nearly 60 percent of voters in the city of Greensboro approved a $134 million bond package. The referendum calls for the bonds to be used to improve roads, with $7.5 million designated for streetscaping along Summit Avenue on the city’s northeast side.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor