It's common across the United States for local voters to decide whether to fund transportation projects. In Colorado, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and many other states, cities or counties bring proposals directly to the public. Transit, roads, bikeways and more projects are often funded through locally-assessed taxes. But not yet in Massachusetts.
This fact sheet from our friends at Transportation for America shows the results when voters have the authority to decide on transportation investments that benefit the local economy, safety, health and quality of life.
While pending legislation would make this possible in Massachusetts cities and towns, it's worth exploring the projects around the country that have earned local support.
These transformative projects, all approved by local voters, include:
- Bikeways, sidewalks, road repairs and Bus Rapid Transit in Denver, Colorado
- Road repairs and Safe Routes to School in Manhattan, Kansas
- County-wide trail network in Volusia County, Florida
- Comprehensive public transit network in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Street, sidewalk, bikeway, and transit investments in the Puget Sound region of Washington
- Greenway and transit projects in Atlanta, Georgia
- A 32 mile trail in East Bay, California
- Roadway expansion and repair, and bike and trail projects in ClarkeCounty, Georgia
- Downtown development in Burlington, Vermont
- Road repairs in Western Springs, Illinois
- A high-speed commuter ferry in Kitsap, Washington
- A recreational trail network in Greene County, Ohio
Other projects around the US that have received local approval include the Los Angeles rapid transit network, public transit in Indianapolis and St. Louis, and many more.
If the Legislature enacts H 1640/S 1551, and the Governor signs the bill into law, communities and regions across Massachusetts may finally make headway on the backlog of long-delayed projects for which state funding is not available.