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USA: Quick Summary — Results of 10 Rail Ballot Initiatives in 2008 Election

Light Rail Now Project Team • November 2008

The following is a quick summary of the results of the ten major rail passenger transportation ballot initiatives that we previously highlighted in our article » USA: Ten Count 'Em 10 Rail Ballot Initiatives Facing Voters on Nov. 4th «. We'll have more information on several of these ballot measures and their implications in subsequent articles.

SPECIAL NOTE: Since original publication, this article has been subsequently revised to reflect passage of the BART funding initiative in San Jose and correct information regarding the success of the SMART rail transit ballot initiative in Sonoma and Marin Counties, California.

Rail New Start Projects

Honolulu — Rapid rail system referendum — Passed
According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Nov. 5th), "Oahu residents voted to approve the City Charter amendment supporting the 20-mile elevated steel-rail transit system from Kapolei to Ala Moana, the single-largest public works project in state history." The measure passed with 52.6 percent of voters approving, 47.4 percent opposing.

Kansas City — Light rail project, funded by sales tax — Failed
This measure lost, with only 44% of voters approving and 56% opposing.

Sacramento — Streetcar project, funded by sales tax (advisory vote) — Passed
According to the Yolo Elections Office (November 4th), City of West Sacramento's Advisory Measure U was approved by 64.4% of voters, opposed by 35.6%.

Sonoma-Marin Counties, California — SMART regional passenger rail project, funded by sales tax — Passed
KCBS Radio News (November 5th) reports that "63 percent of North Bay voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax that would help fund the proposed Sonoma-Marin SMART train, as provided by Measure Q." NOTE: The SMART measure passed with the required 2/3 majority (66.67%) in the transit district as a whole.

California (statewide) — Intercity highspeed rail project, via bond funding — Passed
So far, LRN! hasn't been able to obtain complete results, but NBC Bay Area (Nov. 5th) reports the measure passed by 4 percentage points.

Rail Extension and/or Support Projects

St. Louis — Ongoing funding and extensions to MetroLink light rail and transit system, new sales tax funding — Failed
Proposition M lost, with 52% of voters opposing and 48% supporting the measure.

Seattle — Extensions to Link light rail system, new sales tax funding — Passed
According to the King County Elections, Department of Executive Services, Proposition No. 1 for Mass Transit Expansion was approved by 61.6% of voters, opposed by 38.4%.

Los Angeles — Extensions to MetroRail rapid rail and light rail system and Metrolink regional passenger rail, via expanded sales tax funding — Passed
According to Angelenic (November 5th), "Measure R was drawing 67.4% of the vote with 97% of precincts reporting."

San Jose — Extension to BART rapid rail system, via expanded sales tax funding — Passed!
Our original posting on Nov. 11th reported that this measure, Measure B, had apparently failed to reach the required 2/3 majority by just 0.4 of a percentage point. According to the Gilroy Dispatch (November 5th), "A tantalizing 66.27 percent of county residents voted to enact a one-eighth cent sales tax to lengthen the public railways line, just short of the necessary two-thirds required for passage." However, subsequent ballot counting, particularly with a tally of provisional ballots, subsequently determined that this measure passed with the required 66.67% majority.

Albuquerque — Ongoing funding via regional revenue district — Passed
According to KOB-TV News (November 5th), "Voters in seven counties approved a gross receipts tax increase to pay for transportation services, including the Rail Runner commuter train from Belen to Santa Fe." Light Rail Now! has not been able to obtain a complete vote tally, but according to the Santa Fe New Mexican (Nov. 4th-5th), votes on the measure in several counties were as follows: Santa Fe County – about 55 percent in favor, 45 percent against; Los Alamos County – about 53 percent in favor, 47 percent against; Rio Arriba County – about 64 percent in favor, 36 percent against; Taos County – about 65 percent in favor, 35 percent against.

A full tally of all transportation ballot measures across the country is available from the Center for Transportation Excellence website:

As we've previously noted, a listing of articles on Light Rail Now! that address some of the most critical issues involved in America's 2008 nation election – including issues that many public transport advocates believe any new administration in Washington should address – is incorporated in our webpage USA Election Issues 2008.

Light Rail Now! website
Updated 2008/11/05

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