Voters in 22 states across the U.S. approved a total of $201 billion in transportation project funding on Nov. 8, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
There were 280 ballot initiatives that involved either new revenue or funding extensions for transportation projects, and 69% of those measures passed. The results of seven initiatives are still pending.
Transportation funding measures are generally popular, as voters have approved an average of 74% of transportation-related ballot measures over the past 10 years, according to the ARTBA.
Infrastructure investment was a major talking point this election cycle, as federal, state and local governments have struggled to fund new projects and repair existing ones. As a result, public sector construction spending has been consistently declining.
Industry groups have called on government at all levels to boost public investment in infrastructure, but broad initiatives to fund large-scale projects are often stalled by political infighting or a lack of resources. President-elect Donald Trump's emphasis on passing a massive infrastructure spending bill has construction groups optimistic that lawmakers will be able to agree on a solution.
Trump revealed his $1 trillion infrastructure plan in October. His team said the program would be largely funded through private investment, with tax credits going to investors willing to put up an equity stake in revenue-generating projects like toll roads, airports and utilities. Although industry experts have questioned the funding sources and feasibility of his proposal, construction and engineering stocks soared this week following Trump's win.
A February American Road and Transportation Builders Association study found that approximately 10% of the nation's bridges were structurally deficient in 2015. And in May, the American Society of Civil Engineers reported that the U.S. will lose an estimated 2.5 million jobs and $4 trillion in gross domestic product over the next decade if it can't overcome the impending $1.44 trillion deficit in infrastructure funding.
Although Congress passed a five-year, $305 billion highway bill in December, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act was criticized for failing to resolve how Congress would pay for the bill long-term and for not establishing a permanent solution for future infrastructure funding needs.