New transportation funding methods popular, survey says
Voters remain open to allowing states to explore non-traditional methods for funding transportation projects, according to a survey of states released Wednesday by the Atlanta-based Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). The report, “Coping with Transportation Funding Deficits: A Survey of States,” summarizes states’ efforts to increase transportation funding since 2000.
ACCG found that referenda were the most popular method to increase transportation funding, and that the 210 referenda held since 2000 frequently represented moves away from the traditional use of gas taxes to fund transportation projects. Sales and property taxes, bonds and other fees were the more popular alternative funding sources under consideration in the referenda.
“Our primary purpose in developing this report was to assist Georgia’s policymakers by providing them with a comprehensive overview of legislative strategies used by other states,” said Matthew Hicks, ACCG associate policy director for economic development and transportation. “We learned that there is no single answer to transportation funding. States are developing solutions to meet their specific needs and empowering local governments with the tools necessary to address their own transportation challenges.”
Other results of the survey include:
Many states are enabling local governments and existing or newly defined regions to develop their own revenue-generating solutions. More local tax measures (173) were proposed than any other type of referenda. In addition, 19 regional measures were proposed. The majority (13) of the proposals included sales tax increases, and nine of them were approved.
Most of the statewide measures that were proposed to voters were for the approval of bond projects. Fourteen of the 17 statewide ballot measures were for bond approvals.
Many state legislatures are taking direct action to increase transportation funding. Six states increased the motor fuel tax, 12 raised fees, and three enabled their largest metropolitan regions to levy sales taxes for transportation.
View the entire “Coping with Transportation Funding Deficits: A Survey of States” report.