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Election Day Updates: Active Transportation and Preemption Ballot Measures

Election Day brought several successes to make transportation safer for millions in cities in Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina! Additionally, we have more good news out of the state of Oregon where voters beat back industry efforts to weaken the ability of local governments to protect the health of their communities. Here’s a brief round-up of this historic progress:


Austin, TX Ballot Initiative: Parks and Recreation Bond and Transportation Infrastructure Bond

The Parks and Recreation bond will provide funding for improvements, renovations, and upgrades to various Parks and Recreation assets, acquisition of new parkland, as well as the addition of hike and bike trails.

The Transportation Infrastructure bond will provide critical funding for street and sidewalk reconstruction and rehabilitation, bridge and structure rehabilitation and replacement, traffic signal upgrades, walking safety improvements, intersection safety projects, and improvement of public spaces.

Tucson, AZ Park Bond

The park bond will generate 225 million over 9 years (2020 – 2028). The funding will go to improvements in parks and fields, but also primarily to connectivity for people who walk and bike.  $67,100,000 will go to street safety and walkability, shared used paths, protected bike lanes, and bicycle boulevards. $24,600,000 will go towards a greenway, a park-like walking and biking corridor that connects neighborhoods and community assets, such as parks, historic landmarks, schools, colleges, a university, and commercial areas.

Charlotte, NC: Bike/Ped

The bike/ped bond will provide many investments in the Charlotte community – from adding sidewalks and bike lanes to expanding parks and developing neighborhoods.

Specifically, the bond will help with the following projects:

  • Sidewalks and walking safety – projects in the Charlotte WALKS pedestrian plan to construct 10 to 12 miles of new sidewalks and 15 crossings for people who walk each year.
  • Bicycle travel – projects in the Charlotte BIKES plan to construct at least 10 miles of new bikeways each year

Wake County, NC: Bike/Ped

The “Wake County Parks, Greenways, Recreation, and Open Space Bonds” will help make Wake County more walkable and bikeable by funding projects that will facilitate safe and convenient use of greenway trails. The Greenway bond will help provide funds to continue investing in Wake County’s goal to make physical activity safe and accessible to everyone. The bond could create 274 miles of new trails that would preserve open space and unique habitats across Wake County and connect them through a network of greenway corridors and trails.

The bond will invest funds to enact the Greenway System Plan, which aims to:

  • Improve access to outdoor recreation for health and wellness;
  • Support economic development and capitalize on trail-based tourism;
  • Protect waterways, wildlife habitat and natural areas along greenways; and
  • Increase connectivity for walking and biking to other transportation options.

Boulder, CO: Sugary Beverages Tax Revenue

In 2016, voters approved a 2 cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages sold within the city limits, but the tax raised more than expected – over $5 million compared to an anticipated $3.8 million. To follow the state's Taxpayer Bill of Rights rules, the city went back to voters for approval before keeping the additional revenue. Voters in Boulder elected to keep all the money raised by the sugary drink tax, which will fund community initiatives that bring healthy food and physical activity opportunities to underserved communities.

Oregon: Rejecting Preemption

Voters rejected a measure that would have prevented the enactment or increase of any state or local tax, fee, or assessment on the sale of groceries. The measure defined groceries as "raw or processed food or beverages intended for human consumption." Based on this definition, the measure would have preempted local governments from taxing soda or sugary beverages.