With transportation being the nation’s “backbone of growth,” Americans want a smart growth approach to near-future needs, notes Marco Island Area Association of Realtors CEO, Shirley English, in this Eagle i contribution.
An overwhelming majority of Americans believe restoring existing roads and bridges and expanding transportation options should take precedence over building new roads.
This is according to a survey sponsored by the National Association of Realtors and Transportation for America.
The 2009 Growth and Transportation Survey describes what Americans think about how their communities are handling development, and how the transportation needs of communities can best be met.
To accommodate future U.S. population growth, which is expected to increase by 100 million by 2050, Americans favor improving inter-city rail and transit, walking and biking in preference to building new highways.
When asked what the Federal Government’s top priority should be for 2009 transportation funding, half of all respondents recommended maintaining and repairing roads and bridges, while nearly one third said “expanding and improving bus, rail, and other public transportation.”
Only 16 percent said “expanding and improving roads, highways, freeways and bridges.”
Asked about approaches to addressing traffic, 47 percent preferred improving public transportation, 25 percent chose building communities that encourage people not to drive, and 20 percent preferred building new roads.
Significantly, 56 percent of those surveyed believe the federal government is not devoting enough attention to trains and light rail systems, and three out of four favor improving intercity rail and transit.
The survey was conducted by Hart Research Associates in early January, 2009.
The company telephoned 1,005 adults living in the U.S. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.