Transportation

Americans Want More Transit: Poll

By Ryan McGreal
Published March 30, 2010

City-dwellers support additional funding for transit while people living in the rurals oppose it, right?

Wrong, at least in the United States:

a majority of rural and urban voters alike believe their home towns would gain from a local transit expansion, according to a new poll released today by the infrastructure reform group Transportation for America (T4A) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

When asked if increased transit investment would help their community, 69 percent of poll respondents answered in the affirmative, including 74 percent of suburbanites and 55 percent of rural residents. Those numbers decreased for a separate question that asked whether transit should get more federal funding, but a majority of voters from both suburban (59 percent) and rural (50 percent) areas remained supportive.

The poll also asked respondents how much they think should be the federal government's share of transit expenditures. The mean response was 37 percent, whereas the actual federal share of transit spending is 19 percent.

For those who point to high rates of driving as proof that most people want to drive, I offer the following quote:

David Metz of Fairbank Maslin Maullin Metz & Associates, one of two pollsters who worked on the survey, told reporters that its conclusion was clear: "Americans want more transportation options than they have today," he said. "The vast majority of Americans say they have no choice but to drive as much as they do and that they would like to drive less."

That would be America, the automotive capital of the industrialized world.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his essays have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. Ryan also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on twitter.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 30, 2010 at 14:14:04

I'm shocked that some of their cities have the decent transit systems that they do. Granted, many suburban areas have no transit at all, but some of the bigger cities are well served thanks to great plans and visionaries many decades ago.

Good luck bringing any meaningful, large-scale investment in transit now though. Their days of unabashed growth and statements showing off their might are long gone. The political system is so poisoned and so bogged down, they can't even do things like deal with gun crime, provide health care or switch to the Metric system without a civil war practically breaking out. The country is now too divided and too politically charged with media and 2 political parties that do little but spew rhetoric all over the place.

The odd transit line will get built and the odd LRT system will thrive and even grow upon completion, but any grandiose schemes of leading the world into the 21st Century of urban living is simply not going to happen.

The public better get used to 'wanting' a lot more things that they won't get.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-03-30 13:14:31

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2010 at 14:28:41

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 30, 2010 at 14:38:17

Capitalist you should try RTFA before commenting on it.

Asked if they would support a transit expansion in their community that required tax increases, 51 percent of poll respondents expressed either strong or moderate support

They get that money doesn't fall from the sky and are saying they want more of their tax money to go to transit.

Also why is it "socialist" to want to fund transit but not "socialist" to want to fund roads?

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By Really? (registered) | Posted March 30, 2010 at 14:41:04

SO DO CANADIANS!

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2010 at 14:53:36

@nobrainer

"Asked if they would support a transit expansion in their community that required tax increases, 51 percent of poll respondents expressed either strong or moderate support"

Who are the people who would pay for the tax increase? Is it the same as the people being asked the question? If those being asked this question expect that people other than themselves (such as the ultra rich for e.g.) will be the ones paying the higher taxes then they are more likely to support the initiative.

51 percent? So what does that mean? 49 percent are against? I don't think that this poll really illustrates convincingly that Americans want transit.

NEXT!

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 30, 2010 at 15:57:17

Ryan and Jason, like typical socialists, think that money falls from the sky.

And to think, all this time I thought that Wall St, the oil industry, auto industry, banking industry and military industry were run by capitalists.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted March 31, 2010 at 11:41:32

"And to think, all this time I thought that Wall St, the oil industry, auto industry, banking industry and military industry were run by capitalists." - Jason

Many "capitalists" are just corporate socialists.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2010 at 13:39:34


We are all socialists if it means saving our own asses. It is up to the government to decide if they want to bail out these corporate "fat cats". In often cases they do e.g. GM, AIG, Wall St banks.

Governments are the ones who make the final call.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 01, 2010 at 14:18:54

"We are all socialists if it means saving our own asses." - Capitalist

Or there is power and money to be had.

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