Research Rest-Stop — Americans Favor Transit

According new a recent Poll by the National Resources Defense Council, over two thirds of Americans favored local government investment on buses, trains and light rail projects.  This finding presents a new development in public opinion for the expansion of transit in cities and towns across the country.  In Philadelphia, there was found to be even more support for transit, by a ratio of 82% to 13%.

Commuters Board a SEPTA Train
(Photo courtesy of

When asked to grade the quality of transit service, only one-third of survey respondents ranked their transit service as an ‘A’ or ‘B’.  Furthermore, a majority of respondents (59%) agreed that the transportation infrastructure is ‘Outdated, Unreliable, and Inefficient.’

This perceived shortfall in transit service is seen as an opportunity for municipalities to invest in public transportation as an approach to solve long-term transportation problems.  In fact, the survey found that Americans are twice as likely to favor improving public transportation over building new roads as a method to solve these long term transportation goals.

Although the survey identified positive feedback for investing in new transit, it did not find an acceptable method to finance new transit investment.  Survey participants were apprehensive of raising sales or gas taxes.

Philadelphia survey respondents particularly disapproved of raising the gas tax, as most automobile drivers feel gas is expensive enough and state government opposes increasing the gas tax.

Despite financing difficulties, the results of this survey show that there is an increasing amount of support for the expansion of public transit as a way to  make commuting easier.

How would you pay for it?

Philadelphia Inquirer Article

NRDC Poll Results Memo


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