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9/20/2016 2:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Nearly Twice as Many Transportation Initiatives on 2016 Ballots as 2012

While presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump dominate the election coverage, from Baldwin County, Alabama, to Los Angeles County, California, at least 57 transportation-related initiatives will appear on state and local ballots Nov. 8. That compares with 31 measures that went before the voters, 21 of which were approved, in the 2012 presidential election.

Aside from the proposals that will be decided in 14 counties apiece in California and Nevada, voters in Illinois, Maine — a $100 million bond issue, $80 million of which would go to roads and bridges — and New Jersey will weigh in on statewide transportation initiatives.

“We’ve seen initiatives transform the market in California over the last 15 years,” said Alison Premo Black, chief economist for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. “We’ve had a lot of concerns with the state funding, including budget cuts at Caltrans, so the county governments have continued to step up and fill that gap.”

The $120 billion, 40-year ballot measure in overwhelmingly Democratic Los Angeles to improve freeway traffic flow and safety, repair streets and potholes, and synchronize traffic signals is funded by a half-cent sales tax and the continuation of the half-cent traffic relief tax.

“The challenge in California is that you have to get a super-majority [two-thirds] of the vote,” Black noted.

Meanwhile, in deeply red Alabama, voters will decide whether to approve Amendment 12, which would establish a governing body that could issue bonds for the construction of toll roads such as one that would connect Interstate 10 and I-65 on the western side of the state's largest and fastest-growing county, Baldwin County. No county in Alabama currently manages its own roads.

Baldwin County, which abuts the western part of Florida’s panhandle, is larger than Rhode Island and over the last 30 years has transformed from a largely rural economy to one based on visitors to its beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

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By David Elfin
Staff Reporter

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