National poll shows support for more money for public transit
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A majority of Americans supports increased spending on public transit and a slim majority is willing to pay higher taxes for it, according to a poll released today.
The poll of 800 registered voters was commissioned by Transportation for America and Smart Growth America, groups that believe federal transportation spending is too heavily skewed toward roads.
"We have a transportation program that is rooted in the 1950s," said Geoff Anderson, a leader of both groups. Transportation for America calls itself the largest transportation reform coalition in the nation, with 450 members.
In the survey, 59 percent said public transportation was a better way to reduce congestion than building or expanding roads. Some 51 percent expressed support for a "small" tax increase to pay for better public transit, while 46 percent were opposed.
The poll showed that most Americans have no choice but to drive, and would prefer more options -- including transit, walking and biking. Some 73 percent said they have no choices other than car travel; 57 percent said they would like to spend less time in their cars; and 82 percent said America would benefit from expanded transit.
Congress is expected to continue work on a new long-term transportation bill next month, and the groups said they will push to increase the percentage of funding allocated for transit. Currently, they said, 80 cents of each dollar goes to highway infrastructure and only 17 cents to transit. The poll respondents favored raising transit's share to 37 cents of each dollar.
First Published March 30, 2010 12:56 pm