U.S. Poll Shows Bipartisan Support for Transit Funding, Fills Gap in Green New Deal
Americans of all political stripes are increasingly supportive of expanded public transit, and there is a growing conviction that there should be more restrictions on new road creation, according to a recent poll on behalf of Transportation for America (T4America).
The result delivers a correction to the one glaring omission Green New Deal legislation introduced in February 2019 by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA): It was “devoid of the bold reimagining of federal transportation spending which encourages more roads, more driving, more sprawl, and more emissions,” T4America Director Beth Osborne wrote at the time.
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In the poll, “fully 79% of voters agreed that the government should fix existing roads before building new ones,” T4America says in a recent blog post. “About 73% support a new set of obligations on state governments to justify any new roads, and 61% support an outright moratorium on new roads for 10 years as a means of reorienting local governments toward repairing infrastructure.”
The majority of Americans would also like to be able to choose whether or not they will personally have to drive on those roads, with about 80% agreeing that “they ‘have no choice’ but to drive as much as they do.” T4America adds that “just over half of car users report wishing they had more options, and about the same share of car owners said public transit was not convenient for their needs.”
At the same time, Americans demonstrate considerable support for policy that would “reduce the number of personal vehicles on the road.” And resoundingly, Americans are willing to pay for expanded public transit, “even as many transit agencies face a growing generational funding crisis brought on by COVID-19,” reports T4America. “Nearly four times as many voters support increasing public transportation funding as support reducing it. There’s no appetite for cuts to investments in public transportation, even accounting for party identification and geography.”
Such attitudes are also being borne out at U.S. polling booths: “When voters go to the ballot to raise taxes to invest in transit, those measures pass at around a 70% clip.”
When asked how much government should be spending on transit, “the average response was $0.33 of every federal transportation dollar,” writes T4America. “Current public transportation spending is only about $0.20 per dollar.”
The poll also showed support for subsidies on electric vehicles, along with rebates that would encourage EV uptake “in areas where a stronger transit network is less feasible”.