Voters Reject Three Rail Transit Boondoggles

Yesterday, voters across the country had the opportunity to vote on a number of transportation ballot measures. Three of these involved spending for new rail transit projects, and all three were rejected.

In Austin, Texas, 57 percent of voters rejected Proposition 1, which would have funded a $1.4 billion, 9.5-mile light rail line, in addition to $400 million in road intersection improvements. Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute produced a devastating review of the so-called “Project Connect.” Project Connect was so nonsensical that the light rail boondoggle was even opposed by numerous transit advocates.

In Seattle, Washington, voters rejected Citizen Petition 1 by over 80 percent, which called for creating a $5 car-tab tax that would be used to spend $2 million annually on a “Century Transportation Authority,” which would have served as a government-sponsored monorail booster.

Finally, in Pinellas County, Florida, a proposed $2.2 billion Greenlight Pinellas transit package, which included a $1.6 billion, 24-mile light rail line that would have connected St. Petersburg to Clearwater by increasing the sales tax from 7 to 8 percent, was rejected by 62 percent of voters. Despite every major government, corporate, and media entity in the Tampa Bay region loudly supporting Greenlight Pinellas, voters recognized the high-cost, low-value proposition posed to them and acted accordingly.