Using Ballot Initiatives to Help Pay for Infrastructure Improvements

Resource Government
August 16, 2013 — 2,090 views  
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Our civilization is undergoing constant change as a result of its desire to become better. This goes for individuals, as well as conglomerates - from small counties to eventually big countries. Every aspect of our society is geared, as it should be - to look for constant improvement. However, sometimes it is the system put in place that hinders us from doing the same. Federal funding for infrastructure is lacking in some parts of the country - but this has not stopped most of the locals from taking the initiative to help improve their own communities.

Raising Funds for Infrastructure with Ballot Initiatives

Ballot initiatives are becoming an increasingly popular method of improving infrastructure. There are a number of examples of this throughout the country. For instance, a ballot initiative in Alaska was geared at improving the states transportation system. The voters coaxed into asking the state to give them permission to help improve the transportation infrastructure. This required a loan of about $195.4 million in order to setup 18 ports and port-related terminals throughout the state. Moreover, another $254.5 million was asked for in order to improve and develop highway and road projects throughout the region.

Just as with Alaska, ballot initiatives can be a useful tool to help improve the status as well as the overall living conditions of a place and community. The fact that it requires the citizens to be an active and essential component of the entire process means that the issues are generally affecting a large set of the people. This in turn, garners higher voter turnout while it strengthens the common man’s ability to fight out well-funded special interests - in the grand scheme of things.

Most experts believe that one of the biggest advantages of this entire process is the fact that that the government is being challenged to perform better and also be more accountable to the people it governs.

Verdict on Ballot Initiatives

The referendum structure of ballot initiatives is generally seen as a positive move and a step in the right direction for all concerned. There are a number of examples of the process being applied to good use and become a vital part of a number of projects all over the country.

One such case was the ballot for bonding water projects in Oklahoma. The approval of a constitutional amendment was put to the voters. The amendment was focused on getting the OWRB (Oklahoma Water Resources Board) to provide financing at lower interest rates to the local communities. This ballot was passed with a 57% - 43% ratio and is known to have had a significant impact on the local community.

In Richland County, South Carolina, the people were asked to approve of a ‘one-cent’ tax increase (locally known as the ‘transportation penny’) that would be focused on improving motorways and greenway projects throughout the county. This ‘one-cent’ tax was aimed at generating an additional income of $1 billion over the next 22 years to aid the cause.

Similarly, in Pierce County, Washington, the voters were asked to approve a 0.3% sales tax increase in order to fund the improvement and maintenance of public transport motorways. The impetus arrived when the county had to cut about 40% of its bus system - with an additional 50% more likely to be cut without the injection of investment that this increase in sales tax would provide. This ballot is still under consideration.

As with any form of government, using the funds available correctly is the essence of progress. While these ballots initiatives are generally for the good of the community, the people in charge of signing off on these projects need to understand how they can use this effective tool of ballot initiatives for the good of the people.

Resource Government


Ballot initiatives are becoming an increasingly popular method of improving infrastructure. There are a number of examples of this throughout the country. This article explains some of them, along with the pros of doing it this way.