Referenda Resources

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“Green” Transportation Taxes and Fees: A Survey Of Californians Mineta Transportation Institute

This report explores public opinion on a new and promising concept―green transportation taxes and fees. These are taxes and fees set at variable rates, with higher rates for more polluting vehicles and lower rates for those that pollute less.


A Local Campaign for the Future

Beth Wilson
A brief report on the transportation campaign in Mason County, Washington.


Laying the Foundation for a Successful Rail Referendum Campaign

University of North Carolina
This study examines lessons learned from rail‐related referendum campaigns in St. Louis County, MO; Phoenix, AZ; and Honolulu, HI. Using results of interviews from campaign leaders in each location as well as archival research and published literature, it distills these lessons into three broad themes: building and maintaining successful coalitions, developing and disseminating resonant campaign messages, and responding effectively to critics.


Lee County Transit Authority Consensus-Building Action Plan Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization
The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and LeeTran, Lee County’s transit agency, have worked cooperatively to establish a consensus on how best to develop and structure a Transit Authority for Lee County.


Lessons Learned: A Conference on Transit Referenda and Why They Succeed or Fail Mineta Transportation Institute
This report is a documented conference in 2001. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the history of successful and unsuccessful transportation measures that have existed in various cities across the United States.
Metro Atlanta 2012 Regional Transportation Referendum

Metro Atlanta Chamber
A presentation on Metro Atlanta 2012 Regional Transportation Referendum


Profile: The Georgia Chamber of Commerce Magazine

Georgia Chamber of Commerce
This report explores public opinion on a new and promising concept―green transportation taxes and fees. These are taxes and fees set at variable rates, with higher rates for more polluting vehicles and lower rates for those that pollute less.


The Regional Sales Tax: An Innovative Approach to Transportation Finance in the Atlanta Region Georgia Institute of Technology
The objective of the research is to document the process and outcome of the public referendum, describe the factors that contributed to its failure in the Atlanta region, and distill lessons learned that will inform the development of effective strategies in Georgia and other states.


A Region Divided: The Campaign for the 2012 Transportation Referendum in Atlanta, Georgia Laurel Paget-Seekins
This research uses a case study of Atlanta to examine how public discourses on the transportation can impact the referendum process and outcome.


Revising Factors Associated with the Success of Ballot Initiatives with a Substantial Rail Transit Component Mineta Transportation Institute
This report presents the replication of an MTI study conducted in 2001 by Peter Haas and Richard Werbel. That research, itself a continuation of an earlier project completed in 2000, included an analysis of transportation tax elections in 11 urban areas across the nation and culminated in the identification of 17 community-level factors with potential impact on the success of ballot measures for sales tax increases to fund transportation packages with substantial rail components.


State Transportation Reform: How Advocates Are Winning Tri-State Transportation Campaign
This report is the culmination of over 20 interviews with some of the country’s leading transportation advocates and discussions from a day long conference with over 30 organizations engaged in state reform work. We asked interviewees and conference attendees: what did you win, how did you win it and what were the key ingredients for success?


Ten Lessons Learned from Recent Legislative and Ballot Campaigns to Increase Local and State Transportation Funding Center for Urban & Regional Policy at Northeastern University
This Working Paper was prepared in order to make the results of this research effort more widely available to those who are working in cities and states throughout the country to secure substantial, reliable public support for much-needed transit and transportation investment.


Case Studies



Case Study: 2008 Los Angeles County Ballot Measure to Pass a Transportation Sales Tax (Measure R) Conservation Law Foundation
A case study of 2008 LA transportation campaign which wished to promote the expansion of subway lines and bus service in order to relieve traffic congestion.


Case Study: 2009 Keep New York Moving Campaign Conservation Law Foundation
This case study explores NY Transportation Campaign whose goal was to raise revenue for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”), the public entity responsible for public transportation, toll bridges, and tunnels in the New York City (“NYC”) area, to address a $1.2 billion deficit in its $10 billion operating budget for 2009 and a budget gap of at least $17 billion for its upcoming 2010-2014 capital program.


Case Study: 2010 St. Louis County Initiative to Pass a Transit Tax (Prop A) Conservation Law Foundation
This case study explores St. Louis County transportation initiative which sought to raise revenue for Metro Transit – St. Louis (“Metro”) to restore service previously cut, to avoid the reinstatement of significant service cuts which had been temporarily avoided, and to expand its bus, light rail, and paratransit systems.


Case Study: 2010 Transportation Works for Kansas Ten-Year Program Conservation Law Foundation

This case study explores Kansas Transportation Campaign whose goal was to pass legislation through the Kansas state legislature which would authorize the Secretary of Transportation to initiate a new ten-year transportation program for the state, secure sufficient funding for it, and close a gap between existing transportation revenues and needs estimated to be $640 million per year over ten years by one state task force.


Case Study: 2011 King County, Washington (Seattle) Initiative to Enact a Congestion Reduction Charge Conservation Law Foundation
This case study explores Seattle Initiative whose goal was to avoid a 17% cut to King County Metro Transit (Metro) bus service by building sufficient support for a local option fee in the form of a two-year $20 vehicle-tab (an extra vehicle license fee), which would close a $60 million per year budget gap through 2013.


Case Study: 2012 Atlanta Referendum to Pass a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Conservation Law Foundation
This case study explores Atlanta Referendum in various points, providing a summary report of results and reasons behind success/failure of the referendum.

Other Referenda Resources

This section includes manuals, articles, webinars and presentations.



Building Communities Through Public Transportation Center for Transportation Excellence
The CFTE has designed this guide to provide transit agencies, transit alliances, grass roots organizations, and lay people with the resources for planning and executing a successful transit initiative campaign.


Campaign Toolkit Center for Transportation Excellence
Centre for Transportation Excellence provides various resources on running a transit campaign.


Six Stops to Success: Putting Your Transportation Message in Service Center for Transportation Excellence
The Center for Transportation Excellence and the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates presents free, six-part webinar training series to provide advocates and transportation organizations with the necessary tools to take a transportation ballot measure from an idea to a success at the ballot box.


St. Louis Transit Scores a Win Citizens for Modern Transit

A presentation. Third Time’s the Charm: How Citizens Made the Difference to Pass a Transit Tax


Third Time’s Charm: St. Louis County’s Initiative to Pass a Transit Tax Citizens for Modern Transit

A presentation on the challenge, campaign strategy, keys to success and the results of transportation referendum


Transit Campaign Planning: A strategy template for organizers Smart Growth America

Use this strategy template to create your own campaign plan. The components discussed here are some of the most important decisions to make before launching a transit campaign: Situation analysis, including external and internal factors to consider; Specific and measurable goals and objectives; Target decision-makers; Strategies that define the campaign’s primary approaches; Tactics, activities and implementation timeline; Structure and operations of the campaign to ensure high-impact implementation; Budget.


Unite Atlanta Unite Atlanta

A supplement to promote referendum in Atlanta


Variables that Influence Public Support for Transportation Referendums Audrey F. Leous

This study investigates public acceptability and perceived effectiveness of allocating local revenue streams for transportation development in the metro region of Atlanta, GA.


Winning Transit Referenda: Some Conservative Advice The Free Congress Foundation

This article provides advice and information on winning a referendum from a conservative point of view. Winning Transit Referenda contains advice on initial steps, speaking with the public, timing, mechanics of winning, mobilizing, and getting the vote.