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APTA survey: Majority of Americans support public transportation


A nationwide survey of voters taken during the week of the Nov. 6 presidential election found that 75 percent of respondents support using tax dollars to expand and improve public transportation, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

The survey found "overwhelming support" for public transportation overall, APTA officials said in a prepared statement. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they believe public transportation offers opportunity for every segment of the population; 76 percent favor increasing public transit in order to decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil and to improve U.S. economic security; 75 percent support using tax funds to expand public transpiration; and 73 percent agreed a strong public transit system leads to economic growth in their communities.

The survey findings were supported by results of 2012 local and state ballot measures related to transportation funding.

"Last year, Americans nationwide approved 49 of 62 — or 79 percent — of public transit initiatives," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy. "That represents our best showing at the ballot box since APTA and the Center for Transportation Excellence began tracking these ballot measures in the year 2000."

In his recent article in APTA's Passenger Transport publication that outlined the state of the transit industry, Melaniphy wrote the association's 2013 goal will be to continue to press for "public transit dollars that have proven to be an engine" for economic growth.

The year will be a challenge on Capitol Hill, he said.

"As Congress and the White House seek ways to reduce federal spending and lower the deficit, every sector will need to prove its return on investment," Melaniphy wrote. "2013 is the time we'll redouble our efforts to educate more people, win new allies and demonstrate public transportation's essential role in a national recovery."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/15/2013