The Most Important Graph in the World

Friday, January 16, 2009

Polls call for transit, maintenance, not more roads

Majority says funded projects should advance national goals, such as energy independence, in addition to creating jobs
WASHINGTON (January 15, 2009) – As Congress takes up debate over an economic stimulus package, a new poll shows that most Americans would rather use federal dollars to repair highways and bridges and improve public transportation than expand highways through new construction.

In addition, fully 80 percent of respondents said stimulus investments should not only create jobs, but also help the goals of reducing oil dependency, improving the environment and increasing transportation options, even if the job creation took longer. Only 20 percent agreed that stimulus funds should include only "road and bridge projects that can be started right away and create an immediate boost to the economy".

The stimulus questions were included in the 2009 Growth and Transportation Survey sponsored by the National Association of Realtors® and Transportation for America, and conducted Jan 5-7.

An overwhelming 80 percent believe it is more important that a stimulus plan include efforts to repair existing highways and public transit rather than build new highways. Forty-five percent of those polled said construction of highways should "definitely" or "probably" not be included in the plan.

Americans Prefer to Spend More on Mass Transit
. . .

The survey shows that Americans want Congress and the incoming administration to factor plans for reducing dependence on foreign oil, improving the environment, and increasing transportation choices into the stimulus package currently in development, even if it temporarily delays job creation.

Americans are also very interested in energy conservation. Eighty-nine percent agreed that transportation investments should support the goals of reducing energy use, with 58 percent agreeing strongly. Three in four of those polled also want the stimulus plan to support the reduction of carbon emissions that lead to global warming and climate change.

The telephone survey of 1,005 adults living in the U.S. was conducted by Hart Research Associates Jan. 5-7. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Transportation for America (T4America.org) is a big-tent coalition of housing, real estate, environmental, public health, urban planning, transportation and other organizations.

"We believe it is possible to invest the stimulus money both wisely and quickly," said Geoff Anderson, co-chair of Transportation for America. "Because this is a down-payment on long term economic stability, it is critical that we don't just throw money at our problems. Voters are clearly asking that Congress and the Administration line up our investments with important national goals."