US voted for railroad projects during presidential elections

During the US presidential election on November 3, 2020, they voted for rail projects. 16 transport projects including rail ones were put up for voting in different states, as Railway Supply magazine informs.

railroad projects

According to the American Public Transportation Association the total cost of the projects was estimated at $38 billion.

  • Among the winners there was the commuter operator Caltrain, which lost a significant chunk of its revenue due to the pandemic. For example, voters living in the San Francisco Bay Area, a metropolitan area with a population of 8 million, approved a sales tax increase to raise additional funding of  $108 million, which Caltrain will receive to support the operation of the San Francisco — San Jose — Gilroy connection. Before the pandemic, these funds were planned to be spent on the electrification of the line.
  • Voters in Austin, Texas, overwhelmingly approved a bus and rail development project proposed by the City’s Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) called Project Connect. The $7.1 billion project will be financed by a 0.875 cents increase in sales tax.
  • According to the project, two new stations will appear on the existing Red metro line. A new Green line will be built from downtown to East Austin. Also, two lines of light rail transport will be built – Orange, (between North and South Austin) and Blue (from the city center to the airport). According to Capital Metro, a total of 43.4 km of track (including a tunnel in the city center) and 31 stations will be built.
  • But in Portland, Oregon, voters voted against the construction of a new 17 km tram line from downtown to its southeastern suburb of Chualatin. The project included a number of initiatives, including requiring employers in Portland to pay for the benefits to their workers and other city residents from improved transportation, as well as improved roads, bridges and bus networks.
  • Guinnett County, Georgia, by a narrow majority (50.22%) rejected a $12.2 billion project to upgrade the route to Atlanta, the state’s capital. It was proposed to finance it by increasing the sales tax by 1% over the next 30 years.