Have you ever taken the bus to work? Driven across a bridge? Turned on the faucet for a drink of water? You may have even noticed that some of these roads and bridges are in need of some TLC. Perhaps, you’ve heard news stories about how water becomes scarce at the time of drought, or the opposite, that dams might breech due to epic rains.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, Tuesday’s election is your chance to tackle your local infrastructure challenges head on!
Statewide ballot measures affecting everything from roads and bridges to water infrastructure needs will be put in your hands in at least eight states and many more localities. Here’s a rundown of what you could see in your neck of the woods:
- California’s Proposition 1 asks voters to authorize the sale of bonds to invest statewide water supply infrastructure improvements. In a time of severe drought California needs you to vote “yes” to improve water storage, water quality, and reclamation.
- Hawaii voters will be asked to authorize “special purpose revenue bonds” to provide public and private dam and reservoir owners with financial assistance to maintain and improve structures. Voting “yes” on Question 4 will make this possible.
- Louisiana needs a “yes” vote on Amendment 4 to authorize the allocation of state funds to an infrastructure bank for eligible transportation projects and prompt the state legislature to take necessary steps toward the Bank’s creation. This is your chance to improve current road conditions and make your daily commute safer!
- Massachusetts needs a “no” vote on Question 1 to maintain the gas tax indexing component of the gas tax increase enacted in 2013. Allow the gas tax to remain linked to the Consumer Price Index and ensure a projected $1 billion of dedicated transportation revenue will be made available over the next decade to modernize roads and bridges.
- Maryland’s Question 1 needs your “yes” vote to ensure that revenue allocated to the Transportation Trust Fund will be used exclusively for the construction and maintenance of highways as well as related transportation purposes.
- Rhode Island’s Question 6 will allow the State to issue bonds and notes to fund enhancements and renovations to mass transit hub infrastructure. Vote “yes” will not only improve access to key transportation sites, healthcare, and other locations but, also stimulate the local economy by creating new jobs.
- Texas needs a “yes” vote on Proposition 1 to have funds from the state’s “rainy day” coffers and a portion of the state’s oil and gas tax revenues allocated to a dedicated fund for transportation projects. This measure creates a dedicated fund for the construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation of Texas’ roadways, and calls for the creation of a commission to identify Texas Department of Transportation savings.
- Wisconsin voters, like Maryland, are faced with a Question 1 that will prevent revenue allocated to the Transportation Trust Fund from being transferred into the state’s general fund. Vote “yes” to ensure transportation revenue earned by the state is used as intended!
In addition to these statewide measures, many localities will see ballot questions that hit even closer to home. Here are a few that ASCE members have been advocating for:
- Voters in Humboldt County, California, and a few of its independent cities, will be asked to establish or raise sales taxes for various public works projects.
- In Colorado residents in the Pikes Peak region will be asked to invest in stormwater infrastructure by voting to create and fund the El Paso Regional Drainage Authority.
- The City of Wilmington, North Carolina ballot will ask citizens to approve a 2-cent property tax increase (about $40 per year for a $200,000 home) to improve the utility and safety of roads and sidewalks. Improvements include realigning intersections, adding traffic signals, and crosswalks.
- In Greenville County, South Carolina, ballots will include a 1% “sales and use” tax increase to fund road and bridge improvements as well as crosswalks and pedestrian trails.</span.
Elections are decided by those who show up. Take the time on Tuesday to make your opinion heard. Get out and vote for clean water, safer roads and bridges, improved public transit and dam safety!