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USA Public Volunteers US$1 Billion for Cycling

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In the USA, just like Australia, motor vehicle transportation receives the lion’s share of government transportation funding each year, with public and active transportation left to share the crumbs.

However, unlike Australia, in the USA they have systems within their lower levels of government (state, city and county) in which propositions which exceed certain support thresholds can then be added to local ballots that are voted on at the same time that voters go to the polls to vote on everything from the President down to local county officials.

In most cases these require voters to effectively volunteer to pay additional taxes, often in the form of a sales tax levy. The additional money raised is earmarked to only be spent upon whatever is outlined in the ballot.

You would think that it would be hard to get the public to vote to pay more tax. And it often is, but not so hard when cycling is on the ballot.

The results from the November 3rd 2020 election are now in. A wide range of new ballot measures were passed totalling more than US$1 billion, (A$1.37 billion) in additional funding over time spans of typically three years or more.

The largest single measure was passed in Austin, Texas which will increase funding by US$460 million (A$630 million) over the next six years to be spend upon public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure. This funding may see Austin overtake Portland, Oregon as America’s most cycling friendly city.

You can read more about the Austin project here and see an overview of all the measures across the USA that passed and failed here.

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