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Survey Shows People Willing to Pay Higher Taxes for Better Roads

Ralph Orlowski, Getty Images

The Washington State Transportation Commission has just completed a statewide survey of the Voice of Washington State (VOWS) survey panel that asked thousands of Washington state residents several questions on transportation.

A resounding 86 percent think it is urgent to make sure Washington’s transportation system works effectively today and into the future and 60 percent would consider raising transportation taxes to ensure future transportation needs are met, a nine percent increase from 2012.

The findings have been submitted to the Governor and Legislature as they consider a possible transportation revenue package aimed at meeting the growing needs of our state.

Some of the key statewide findings from the survey include:

  • When given a number of benefits that come from increased long-term investments in our transportation system, 78 percent said preserving infrastructure was important in terms of justifying additional taxes for our transportation system. The next highest benefit for justifying additional taxes was reducing congestion (61 percent) and expanding transit (56 percent).
  • Only 20 percent rate Washington’s transportation system as better than average. This is a six percent decline from 2012.
  • On average residents give Washington’s statewide transportation system a C-minus grade.
  • When asked rate the importance of specific transportation components, 84 percent feel maintaining and repairing existing roads, highways and bridges is important, followed by expanding public transit services (49 percent) and adding or increasing inter-city passenger rail service (46 percent). This result is similar to the 2012 survey.

The VOWS survey panel began in 2011 and utilizes a multi-layered recruiting strategy including mail, phone, email, word of mouth, social media to help provide the broadest possible statewide coverage of Washington residents. All survey results are statistically valid and projectable to the full population of Washington state. A total of 5,765 responses were collected from across the state for this survey.

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