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Most in Nation Support Increase in Federal Funds; Survey Shows Upward Trend

Almost 68 percent of ­Americans now support increasing federal public transportation investment levels, an increase of almost 2 percent from last year, according to a recent survey conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) for APTA.

“Americans understand the importance of investing in public transportation because it is a catalyst to transforming their community,” said APTA President & CEO Michael ­Melaniphy following the release of the survey. “Research data show support for increased revenues for public transportation. This support continues to increase because Americans realize that everyone benefits from public transit investments through the economic growth in their community, even if they do not ride it,” he added.

The study, MTI Report 12-36, is titled “What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Public Transit, Highways, and Local Streets and Roads? Results from Year Five of a National Survey.” The research was conducted and analyzed during the summer, and the report was released in mid-September.

In addition, almost 74 percent of Americans support the use of tax dollars for creating, expanding, and improving public transportation options in their communities, and 76 percent of those surveyed agreed  that public transportation investment can help create jobs and pave the way to a stronger economy, and almost 88 percent of respondents agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to medical care, schools, and colleges.

MTI cited the contrast between needed funding increases to upgrade and renovate public transit infrastructure and the decline in transportation revenues from state and federal gas taxes over the past several decades. “This dilemma of growing needs and shrinking revenues can be resolved in only two ways: Either the nation must dramatically lower its goals for system preservation and enhancement, or new revenues must be raised. If the latter is to happen, legislators must be convinced that increasing taxes or fees is politically feasible,” the report states.

The survey is the fifth in a series of annual MTI telephone surveys. This year, the institute conducted 1,503 telephone interviews with individuals across the U.S.; the margin of error is minus 2.53 percentage points, at the 95 percent confidence level.

The survey is available here.
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