Election Day questions cover transportation issues

| 8/18/2010

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, ballots in some states will address transportation-related initiatives. Land Line recently took a look at initiatives in California, Georgia and Rhode Island. Included here is what was found.

Voters in California have two transportation issues on the statewide ballot. Proposition 21 asks whether to apply a vehicle license fee increase for improvements to state parks.

License fees for most vehicles would increase by $18 a year to generate about $500 million annually in a dedicated fund for the state’s 278 parks. Vehicles excluded from the surcharge include large trucks, mobile homes and permanent trailers.

In return for funding the parks, affected vehicles would get unlimited parking at most state parks and beaches.

With a new dedicated revenue stream in place, about $130 million the state now spends on state parks would be rerouted to the state’s general fund.

Also on the ballots in the Golden State is a question that seeks to ban the state from dipping into certain funds when times are tough. Passage of Proposition 22 would prohibit the state from taking or borrowing local government and transportation funds under any circumstances.

Among the funds that Prop 22 would make off-limits to the state are fuel taxes dedicated to transportation and transit improvements; local government property taxes for public safety; and the portion of the diesel tax dedicated to public transit.

Georgia ballots will include a proposed amendment to the state constitution. It asks voters about imposing a $10 fee on “certain passenger motor vehicle registrations” to benefit the state’s 16 trauma care centers. In addition, other hospitals would be able to upgrade to trauma centers.

The fee is projected to generate $80 million annually.

In Rhode Island, voters will decide whether to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds to match federal funds to improve roads, bridges and transit buses.

As much as $80 million could be used for road work. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority could use up to $4.7 million to buy and rehabilitate buses.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the issues included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.