Photo via Flickr
Mathew Yglesias highlights a Washington Post poll that asked voters in the greater DC area their thoughts on public transit. Most interesting, perhaps, was when asked if they'd prefer DC's subway system be kept running within its existing budget and face seeing service cuts or have their taxes raised to keep all lines available, guess which they chose?Yep, they'd rather pay more in taxes in order to see service continue unabated. Here's the poll's exact wording and responses, via Yglesias:
In recent years the Metro system has run up against funding shortages. Do you think (Metro should operate within its existing budget, even if this might mean cutting current services), or do you think (the region should find a new way to fund Metro, even if this might mean raising taxes on area residents)?
Changing topics, in general, do you think government efforts to reduce traffic congestion in the Washington region should be focused more on expanding and building roads, or on providing more public transportation options, such as trains or buses?
The second graph is a pretty direct indictment against expanding roads and highways, too, and shows a clear preference for better public transit.
The notion that taxes are anathema no matter what in the US (unless they're on the wealthy, or maybe sometimes in the case of a severe economic crisis, like in Oregon) is hardly a novel one. But it turns out there are--surprise!--documented cases when voters will pay more taxes for a service they find important, even in a recession. And good public transit is one such service.
Would you pay higher taxes for reliable, effective public transit?