MINNEAPOLIS — Results from a statewide poll of Minnesota voters
show broad support for expanded and improved public transit.
Nearly three-quarters, 74 percent, of all respondents said they would support the State of Minnesota making additional investments in transit, including buses, trains and light rail. A majority of self-identified voters across parties said they back more spending on transit, including 54 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 92 percent of Democrats.
Minnesota’s largest local Chamber of Commerce – the Minneapolis Regional Chamber – hired nationally known pollsters Public Opinion Strategies to conduct the poll of 500 Minnesota voters statewide.
“This survey shows that Minnesotans are strongly supportive of investing in an improved transit system,” said Jonathan Weinhagen, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber. “Getting over the us-vs.-them discussion on transportation and transit is important. Minnesotans recognize that transit is good for our economy and they believe better transit would mean good things for jobs, making our state stronger and more competitive.”
Support for transit improvements is broad
Overall, 80 percent of respondents said that the Twin Cities metro area would benefit from an expand and improved public transit system. Seventy-four percent said they believe the State of Minnesota would benefit from expanded and improved transit.
There is also strong support for making transit easier to use. Fifty-eight percent said that they would like to use public transit such as rail or buses more often, but it is not convenient to or available from their home or work.
Even with an additional cost involved, a majority of voters support additional transit spending. Nearly six in ten voters (59 percent) support the state “making additional investments in expanding and improving public transit, even if it means a small increase in taxes or fees.” Fifty-two percent of voters support a sales tax increase in the 7-county metro area of one-half of one percent to fund transit improvements.
Greater Minnesota transportation options strongly backed
More than three-quarters want to see more choices in Greater Minnesota; 78 percent agreed with the statement that “we need to expand transportation choices in rural Minnesota to ensure that seniors, workers, and the physically handicapped can get to where they need to go.”
Solid agreement that public transit benefits the economy, would help alleviate traffic congestion
Seventy-three percent agreed that a good system of public transit would benefit the state’s economy and 70 percent agree that it would benefit their community’s economy.
Nearly two-thirds believe that transit is necessary to compete with other metro areas for jobs. Sixty-four percent said that Minneapolis-Saint Paul needs a better regional transit system in order to compete for jobs with communities like Denver, Salt Lake City, Dallas and Portland that have more complete transit systems.
Finally, Minnesota voters perceive traffic congestion as worsening, and believe investments in public transit will provide benefits in this regard as well. A majority in the state (54 percent) and over two-thirds (69 percent) in the Metro area say that traffic congestion has gotten worse in the past few years. Notably, when asked why they support public transit, alleviating traffic congestion is one of the reasons they cite.