Sound Transit Commissioned Moore Information to make a post-Prop. 1 survey earlier this month. The results were not terribly suprising, I’ll make a summary of the ones that stuck out to me:
Most people (72%) support expanding light rail. Not suprising, Seattle leads the way with 84% supporting it, while the rest of the subareas are between 65%-72%. I was suprised to see that Snohomish is the most pro-light rail region after Seattle.
Every Subarea supports future transit packages focusing on light rail over express bus service (52%-62%). Seattle leads the way on this side again. This shows that BRT may be popular amongst talking heads, but not the man on the street. That guy knows better.
Every region supported splitting roads and transit (70%-77%), and every sub region other than Pierce County (only 31%) support a mostly transit package in the future over a mostly roads package.
Every region also supports a series of smaller individual ballot measures for specific projects rather than large comprehensive packages (53%-65%). I reckon this is because people vote know on confusing packages with long time frames and large bills.
65% of people supported the light rail package in Prop. 1, though only 53% of people would have voted for it on its own with 38% against, and 9% undecided. Suprisingly, the roads had a similar result, with 50% for it, 10% undecided and 40% against. Seattle and Snohomish(!!!) were most for the package 73% for Seattle, and 70% for Snohomish. East King was least for it, with only 54% supporting it.
Only Seattle (43% vs. 49%) supports safety and maintance for roads over Capacity, safety and maintence. East King is most for more capacity (69% vs. 29%), but every other subarea is around 56~58% for capacity as well as maintenance, and 35~39% for just maintenance. This shows the Sierra Club side is in a mild minority outside of Seattle.
Another weak point for the Sierra Club/Ron Sims argument is that a minority supports congestion pricing, with only Seattle (53%) being more than 50%. Congestion pricing is going to be a really tough sell.
Sound Transit is more favorable overall than WSDOT, but less favorable than the local agencies (Metro, Pierce Transit, and Community Transit).
Amazingly, Light Rail North and South were the most important issues after Fixing unsafe roads and bridges. Even replacing 520 fell short of that. Light Rail East was important to only 55%, but still more important than widening 405 with it’s $11 billion dollar price tag. Yeah and people say transit is expensive.
Amazingly, the $157 billion tactic didn’t work well against prop. 1, because as many people (16%) thought it cost less than $10 billion as tought it cost more than $100 billion (11%) Most people just didn’t know 67%. That what happens when 10 different numbers float around.
The final blow is that people hate sales taxes. Only 23% of people support using sales taxes to pay for transportation projects. Of course people hate taxes, but the MVET was the most popular with 51% of people supporting it. Unfortunately, there may not be much that can be done on this front, Sound Transit doesn’t have much taxing authority beyond sales tax.
In all, the poll makes a good case for smaller incremental packages, with small taxes that aren’t sales taxes and without roads attached. Let’s hope it gets on the ballot next year.
What’s interesting about the board minutes, is that they authorized $1.5 million to PB Americas to come up with more planning for a phase two, which shows they are serious about getting it back on the ballot!