Transportation Finance Research Collaborative

The Dukakis Center has received generous support from the Barr Foundation to work with A Better City (ABC) and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) to conduct research to help inform the ongoing policy discussion in Massachusetts about options for increasing public investment in our statewide transportation system.  The three organizations have formed a Transportation Finance Research Collaborative to both generate and share high quality research on topics relevant to solving Massachusetts’ transportation finance crisis.  This research and analysis will, we hope, help shape and inform the impending debate over how we can better and more effectively invest in the Commonwealth’s transportation system.

Transportation Finance:  Lessons Learned from Around the Country

The Collaborative’s first research effort involves on researching, documenting and learning from recent efforts in metropolitan areas and states around the country to address similar transportation finance challenges.  This research involves:

  • identifying a subset of recent campaigns (both ballot initiatives and legislative efforts) to increase revenue for transit and/or transportation and conducting both literature reviews and structured interviews to better understand the “lessons learned” from those efforts for Massachusetts;
  • inviting a number of the key people involved in those efforts to come to Boston and participate in a series of “learning conversations” with Massachusetts stakeholders; and
  • documenting the “lessons learned” from each campaign in a brief and accessible document and sharing that learning with interested Massachusetts stakeholders.

Six transportation campaigns were identified for further study, based on their relevance to Massachusetts: a transit-only ballot campaign in metropolitan St. Louis, ballot measures for transportation funding in metropolitan Los Angeles and Atlanta, a county-level legislative initiative to increase transit funding in the Seattle area and state legislative efforts to increase statewide transportation funding in Kansas and regional transit funding for New York City.  In addition, the health care reform campaign in Massachusetts was studied as a recent model of a broadly-based and successful effort to secure high impact legislation in Massachusetts.

The Barr Foundation then hosted a series of “learning conversations” in Boston about efforts from across the country to generate new revenues for transportation, inviting a broad range of stakeholders. On three consecutive Fridays starting September 21 dozens of interested stakeholders had the opportunity to hear stories and ask questions of leaders from Metro Atlanta, Los Angeles County, St. Louis County, New York, and Kansas, as well as two leaders in the effort to expand health coverage in Massachusetts.  Agendas and speaker presentations from the now-completed “learning conversations” with key players from these campaigns are available by clicking the links below.

September 21 Learning Conversation


Presentation By Dave Williams, Metro Atlanta Chamber

Presentation By Denny Zane, Move LA

September 28 Learning Conversation


Presentation By Nancy Cross, SEIU Local 1, St. Louis

October 5 Learning Conversation


Presentation By Deb Miller, former Kansas DOT Secretary

Presentation By Bob Yaro, Regional Plan Association (NY)

 Transportation Finance Case Studies With “Lessons Learned” for Massachusetts

Atlanta:  2012 Referendum for a Transportation Local Option Sales Tax

Kansas:  2010 Transportation Works for Kansas Legislation

Los Angeles: 2008 County Ballot Measure for a Transportation Sales Tax  (Measure R)

New York: 2009 Keep New York Moving Legislative Campaign

Seattle:  2011 King County Campaign to Enact a Congestion Reduction Charge

St. Louis:  2010 County Initiative to Pass a Transit Tax (Prop A)

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