Gunnison Valley RTA, Ballot Issue 5A, 2015
The Gunnison Valley Rural Transit Authority had not requested any new funding from voters since 2002. Since then ridership had nearly doubled and the maintenance costs for the bus fleet had grown significantly. In addition, air service to and from Gunnison Regional Airport was declining, and air carriers would not establish new routes without funding from the RTA to subsidize certain flights. These issues were a major concern to the Gunnison Chamber of Commerce and other businesses in the valley. Our research was used to measure voter awareness of the RTA’s services and their satisfaction levels with each service. Our years of researching tax increases has taught us some fundamental things: the first being voters will always reject a tax increase if the money is going towards an organization or entity that they do not use or do not value. We were very pleased that our research indicated that the free bus service from Crested Butte to Gunnison was very popular and valued. However, funds going to subsidize air service was not as much an easy sale. In the end, our research identified and prioritized the messages that would be the most effective in persuading voters to support the sales tax increase. Our final measurement of support for the tax increase showed 52% supporting it, 43% opposing it and 5% being undecided. The final vote was 51.7% approving the ballot issue and 48.3 opposing it.