Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Support of public transportation investment increases

A new survey released indicates that there is growing support for expanding public transportation.

The survey, Americans Support for Public Transportation, conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), shows that nearly 74 percent of respondents agreed to use of their tax dollars to create, expand and improve public transportation in their community. The number of respondents increased from an already solid 69 percent of Americans in support in 2012 to nearly 74 percent in favor this year.

"We are experiencing this surge in support because citizens can see, touch and feel the economic impact of investing in public transportation," said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Chair Flora Castillo. "This survey emphasizes that public transit plays a great role in society because it directly touches people's lives."

"We look forward to sharing these great results with Congress," said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. "In most political circles, receiving nearly 74 percent in favor of increased investment would be considered a landslide."

Eighty percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement that public transportation investment can help create jobs and pave the way to a stronger economy. However, public transportation scores its strongest support when discussing access to opportunities. When asked about the affordable transportation options for people, nearly 88 percent of respondents agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to new jobs and careers, as well as to medical care, schools and colleges.

The survey respondents also sent a strong message to Congress about their growing support for increased investment. Sixty-six percent of respondents believe Congress should increase spending on public transportation. Compared to last year's survey, that registers as a five percent increase in support from a year ago.

The association noted that the results for the survey were very consistent with the growing support on the local level. In 2012, 49 out of 62 public transit ballot initiatives were passed which represents a nearly 80 percent passage rate.

The association also pointed out that the research is consistent with the growth in demand for public transportation. Americans took 10.5 billion trips on public transportation in 2012 – the second highest annual ridership since 1957.

The survey by MTI was a result of 1,501 telephone interviews with individuals across the United States and the margin of error is minus 2.53 percentage points, at the 95 percent confidence level.

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