A new survey released today at the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Annual Rail Conference provides evidence that there is growing support for an already strong majority of people in favor of 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 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 5 percent increase in support from a year ago.
The association noted that the results for the surver 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.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.