Support for the Southwest Light Rail Transit project has grown significantly over the past year and a majority of Minnesotans support a sales tax increase for transit, according to survey results announced Thursday.
The memo that the bipartisan survey team produced on behalf of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce paints a picture of widespread support for transit in both the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.
“Minnesotans understand that planning for economic growth and improving our region’s transportation system is just common sense,” a news release quoted Minneapolis Regional Chamber President Todd Klingel. “This survey shows there is strong support for combating traffic congestion and fueling job growth by providing funding for Southwest LRT and funding long-term investments in a comprehensive, integrated transportation system.”
Southwest LRT saw some of the biggest gains over the past year. Three out of four metro voters supported funding the $118 million that remains of the state contribution to move forward with the project—up 11 percentage points over 2012. Statewide, 70 percent of voters expressed support, an increase of 9 points over 2012.
(The total state share is $125 million.)
Support was nearly as strong for a half-cent sales tax increase to improve light rail, bus and other public transit choices. Overall, 65 percent of Minnesota voters backed the tax—with 57 percent support in the metro area and 74 percent outside the metro.
Meanwhile, there was an overwhelming consensus that the state should invest “more in public transit improvements to ease traffic congestion and provide more transportation options.” Statewide and metro voters were nearly evenly matched in their agreement—with 83 percent and 84 percent, respectively, supporting that sentiment.
Public Opinion Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates obtained the results through a survey of 700 Minnesota voters, including 400 in the Twin Cities. The survey has a 3.7 percent margin of error for the statewide data and a 4.9 percent margin of error for the metro region.
- Click on the PDF to the right of this article to read the full memo.