Environment Picture

MEC poll: Voters willing to pay more for road, transportation upgrades

Broad support for improvements crosses party lines
Michigan voters know the state’s roads and public transportation systems need help, and they’re willing to pay more taxes to improve them, a poll commissioned by the Michigan Environmental Council shows.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents rated Michigan’s roads as “poor” or “fair,” and two-thirds gave similar marks to public transportation systems. The results indicate that modest, targeted tax expenditures to fix roads and create better public transportation would be a bipartisan success for any legislator looking to win approval from constituents. The poll of 600 voters was conducted earlier this year by Maryland-based Victoria Research.

“Taxes are not a dirty word for voters when it comes to rebuilding roads and creating better public transportation systems,” said Michigan Environmental Council President Chris Kolb. Kolb, a former state representative, added, “Support for transportation investment was across the board—majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents all say they are willing to pay more.”

Across party lines, the majority of respondents said they would be “…willing to pay more in taxes for infrastructure investment.” Among Republicans, 56 percent would be willing to pay $10 or more per month, as would 60 percent of independents and 77 percent of Democrats.

Voters know that fixing roads and investing in infrastructure is important, and legislators should not fear backlash for increasing taxes modestly in order to do so, the results indicated.

Additionally, respondents in the survey believed that construction of public transportation systems creates jobs and economic vitality. Respondents supported improvements ranging from fixing existing roads and bridges to improving or fixing bus systems and constructing modern passenger rail lines, commuter trains and light rail systems.

The Michigan Environmental Council is working to build momentum for infrastructure improvements with allies in the legislature and support on some initiatives from Gov. Rick Snyder. MEC helped secure full state funding for public transportation, upgrades to both passenger and freight rail lines in Michigan, and state and local Complete Streets policies that encourage planning for cyclists, pedestrians and other non-motorized options in Michigan’s cities and towns.
-Michael Kulick, MEC
RELATED TOPICS: transportation policy
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