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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Many transit-rail initiatives win on local ballots

Voters in L.A. County approved a measure that'll provide $120 billion for transportation improvements in the region.
Photo – L.A. Metro


[Editor's note: APTA has updated the number of transit measures that were under consideration.]

Several U.S. communities yesterday approved a variety of sweeping passenger-rail initiatives, including a $120 billion transportation plan in Los Angeles County.

L.A. County's Measure M received more than the two-thirds vote required to pass, according to radio station 89.3 KPCC. The plan will provide funding for a slew of transit-rail projects in the region, such as the Purple Line subway extension and the Regional Connector rail project.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) said voters approved 33 of 48 local and statewide public transit measures for a current passage rate of 69 percent based on unofficial election results. Voters yesterday considered ballot measures calling for nearly $200 billion in local investment for public transportation, according to APTA.

Other rail-related measures that won voter approval include:
• a half-cent sales tax increase in Atlanta that will raise $2.5 billion for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority expansions, according to the Eno Center for Transportation.
• a $3.5 billion bond measure that will provide funds for repairing and improving Bay Area Rapid Transit's infrastructure, news station KRON 4 reported.
• Measures allowing Arlington and Fairfax counties, Va., to issue general bond obligations for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and transportation projects, according to Eno.
• a half-cent sales tax increase in Wake County, N.C. to help pay for a 10-year, $2.3 billion plan to add commuter rail and increase bus service throughout the county, according to The News & Observer. The Wake Transit Plan calls for the county to build a commuter-rail system between Garner and Durham, with stops at North Carolina State University, downtown Cary, Research Triangle Park, Morrisville and Duke University in Durham.

Ballot measures that appeared to be headed for approval as of this morning include the $54 billion, 25-year Sound Transit Proposition 1, which would fund an expansion of the light-rail system in Washington state's Puget Sound region. Known as Sound Transit 3, the measure was leading with 55 percent overall approval following Tuesday night counts in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, Wash., according to The Seattle Times.