Taxes for Transportation Were Well Received

Voters eager for better public transit approved 15 of 18 ballot-measure tax increases on Nov. 3, 2020.

Counter to Grover Norquist’s “Voters (Mostly) Reject Tax Hikes” (op-ed, Nov. 9), voters eager for better public transit approved 15 of 18 ballot-measure transportation tax increases on Nov. 3. Adding these to the 32 measures approved earlier this year brings the success rate of transit ballot initiatives in 2020 to a high of 92%.

In Austin, Texas, voters approved investing $7.1 billion in three new rail lines, a downtown transit tunnel and bus-service expansion, including an all-electric fleet.

The San Francisco-San Jose rail line, Caltrain, gained dedicated funding estimated at $108 million annually for the next 30 years thanks to voter approval of a 1/8-cent sales tax in the three counties that the line serves.

Seattle voters renewed a sales tax to fund transit projects for an additional six years and increased the tax from 0.1% to 0.15%. In Missoula, Mont., voters approved a mill levy request that will raise $3 million annually to increase bus frequency on popular routes, expand weekend service, and move closer to an all-electric bus fleet.

These election results weren’t even squeakers; support ranged from 59% in Missoula to 67% in Austin, 70% in the Bay Area and 81% in Seattle.

Stewart Mader

Hoboken, N.J.

Appeared in the Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2020.