Transportation Issues on The Ballot Next Week

Congressional seats may be the focus of midterm elections in D.C., but across the country ballot questions will address a host of transportation issues, with a focus on much-needed infrastructure upgrades. Sean Slone of the Council of State Governments has a breakdown here. "It's a grab bag this year," he said.

Gas tax measures are on the ballot in three states, which could give Congress a fresh look at how voters view the issue, with debate looming next year over how to save the Highway Trust Fund. In California, which has the fifth-highest state gas tax in the country, Proposition 6 would repeal gas and diesel tax increases enacted in 2017, and require voter approval for future increases. In Missouri, voters will consider Proposition D, which would increase the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon. The state has "been sort of at this for a long time. Their gas tax has been 17 cents since the 1990s, they've had a lot of hard fought unsuccessful campaigns for additional funding," Slone said. "They're required to take tax increases to voters, and they're giving it another go." And in Utah, there's a nonbinding resolution that would support advising its legislature to pass a 10 cent per gallon gas tax increase, aimed at freeing up funding for education.

The two Republicans competing to lead the House Transportation Committee next year are U.S. Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Sam Graves (R-MO).

Several other states are voting on the way they handle transportation funding. Connecticut's Amendment 1 would prohibit lawmakers from using the state transportation fund for anything other than transportation. Colorado and Maine ballot questions would authorize bonds for transportation projects. And Amendment 4 in Louisiana would stop the practice of sending revenue from the Transportation Trust Fund to state police for traffic control.