Media Center

Nov 4

ATU: Strong Election for Public Transit

Ballot measures pass, reaffirming that Americans want more public transit

Silver Spring, MD – While the results of the Presidential election are still in doubt, public transit was a winner on election night. Transit ballot initiatives passed all across the United States, showing that Americans want more and improved public transportation, says the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) – the largest organization representing transit workers in North America.

“Voters have spoken through the ballot box, and they said they want more public transit,” says ATU International President John Costa. “Since the pandemic began, public transit has played a key role in transporting essential workers – nurses, grocery store, health care and other workers - to fight the virus and keep our communities moving. Voters recognized that better and more public transit is critical to their communities, creating more economic opportunity, cleaner air and less congestion.”

From Austin, TX; to Seattle, WA; to San Antonio, TX; ATU members teamed with transit advocates to mobilize digitally, by mail and other actions to encourage riders and the public to vote for transit ballot initiatives. The following ballot initiatives passed:

In Seattle, WA - Prop 1 passed with a vote of 82% for Yes and 18% for No. Prop 1 is an increased transit sales tax measure that will help fund transit projects for another six years in Seattle. Revenue would be allocated toward maintaining Seattle’s transportation network, capital improvements, low-income fare programs as well as needs related to COVID-19 and the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. Prop 1 will save over 120 ATU jobs as well as avoid the slashing of 150,000 hours of bus service.  

In Austin, TX, Austin Project Connect was approved by a 58% to 42% vote. Project Connect, or Proposition A, is a property tax that dedicates a portion of the funding to the operation and maintenance of Capital Metro’s public transit plan. This will include the addition of light rail lines, rapid bus lines and neighborhood circulators among other improvements. This will also mean more job opportunities for ATU members.

In San Antonio TX, Prop A passed by a 68% to 32% margin. Prop A is a 1/8th cent sales tax that would be allocated to the VIA Metropolitan Transit agency serving San Antonio. Revenues would be used to expand public transportation services including additional equipment, operations, and passenger amenities. Prop A will save and expand job opportunities for ATU members.

“These major wins send a strong message that investing in transit is the right thing for our nation,” Costa continued. “I applaud the work of our members in helping to secure these important victories for transit and riders in their communities.”