Poll for a metro-wide 2020 transportation ballot initiative shows solid support for several billion dollar investment



Poll for a metro-wide 2020 transportation ballot initiative shows solid support for several billion dollar investment

The regional government Metro, which began polling this month for a possible transportation bond on the 2020 ballot, found support for a massive expenditure on transportation.

Of the 1,463 the likely voters polled, 65 percent were very willing or somewhat willing to support their household spending $200 a year "in additional taxes to fund…transportation improvements" such as "repairing sidewalks," "fixing potholes," replacing bridges, and "widening highways at bottlenecks."

That amount, $200 a year for 30 years, could mean $2.2 billion if Metro again pursues a property tax bond, as it did on for the affordable housing bond, passed in November.

Metro has not yet decided on a tax or bond, and is not likely to simply appeal to voters to pass a simple property tax bond again. Metro did not provide estimates for how much could be raised from other tax structures.

In all, 64 percent of polled voters supported a plan for "specific traffic relief projects; repairs to local streets and roads; new light rail and rapid bus lines; and projects that make local streets and roads safer."

Typically, 60 percent support is considered the politically feasible starting point for a ballot initiative. (Of those polled, 55 percent indicated support for paying even more—an average of $300 a year for thirty years.)

"Voters in this region want to see investment in the transportation system that improve commutes and travel time for everyone," says Andy Shaw, government relations director at Metro. "Our sense from the poll is that people are hungry for systemic improvements that make the system work better for everyone, that allow some congestion relief, that allow faster bus service, that allow people to get around the region."