PUBLICATION

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MTI Report 01-17
Factors Influencing Voting Results of Local Transportation Funding Initiatives with a Substantial Transit Component:
Case Studies of Ballot Measures in Eleven Communities

The authors of this study participated in a prior project (Haas, Massey, Valenty, and Werbel, 2000) involving case studies of four local ballot tax measures for transportation packages with a substantial passenger rail component. In-depth interviews with knowledgeable individuals were used to obtain information about the process used to determine the transportation package, the nature of the package, and the communications campaigns used by both proponents and opponents. Although the study revealed quite a bit about how these factors influence the results of this type of ballot measure, the conclusions drawn were tentative at best, due in part to the small number of cases studied.

ABSTRACT

This publication is a follow-up study to MTI publication 00-01, Why Campaigns for Local Transportation Funding Initiatives Succeed or Fail: An Analysis of Four Communities and National Data. The earlier publication was case studies of four local ballot tax measures for transportation packages. The current study, Factors Influencing Voting Results of Local Transportation Funding Initiatives with a Substantial Rail Transit Component: Case Studies of Ballot Measures in Eleven communities, uses the same case study methodology as the prior study, and is expanded to 11 communities from the past four years. Some of the important conclusions identified by the study are as follows: 1) The combination of an energetic and credible opposition and a questionable reputation of the transit agency or transit system make it extremely difficult for a ballot measure to be successful; 2) When a community has no prior rail transit system, a comprehensive rail-only package is unlikely to be successful; 3)Without $1 million or more to spend on a combination of direct mail and television advertising it is difficult for proponents to be successful; 4) Developing a consensus transportation package depends on the specific details of the package and it is very difficult to generalize about the needed details; and 5) Under certain circumstances, voters do not appear to place significant importance on the existence or length of the expiration date of the tax used to fund the transportation package.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dr. Werbel has a good deal of consulting experience involving survey research. He has been primarily or solely responsible for six consulting projects using survey research. Each study used a complex and lengthy questionnaire and two involved the use of stratified sampling. One of these studies involved encouraging switching from solo driving to commuting. Although many faculty teach research and conduct survey research on a consulting basis, only a relatively small subset of this group ever conducts academic research dealing with research methodology. He has published two papers dealing with complicated methodological issues. Note: Dr. Werbel serves as Vice-Chair of IISTPS' Research Associates Policy Oversight Committee (RAPOC).

TECHNICAL

MTI Report 01-17
Factors Influencing Voting Results of Local Transportation Funding Initiatives with a Substantial Transit Component:
Case Studies of Ballot Measures in Eleven Communities
Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Werbel
Published: October 2001
Keywords: Advertising; Advocacy groups; Taxes, Transportation planning; Transportation policy.
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