Public Policy Forum Blog

The People Speak: Citizens' views on transportation issues

The June 2010 People Speak poll, conducted in conjunction with the UWM Center for Urban Initiatives and Research and The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee, covers several transportation issues, including congestion, transit options, revenue diversification, and regional governance.

The People Speak is a tracking poll, conducted at regular intervals throughout the year. Its purpose is to gather information from the region's citizens about their interests in, concerns about, and preferences for public policy. By gathering and reporting these citizens' perspectives, the partners hope to expand the public voice in policy matters affecting greater Milwaukee.

Highlights from the June 2010 poll of 386 residents of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha Counties include:

  • Average grades for the region's transportation infrastructure. Local roads garner a C- and freeways a C+. Local bus service and main thoroughfares each earn a C-, as well.
  • Overall, respondents see traffic congestion as a moderate to severe problem, but do not feel it has been increasing over the past decade. Still, there is majority support for increasing the capacity of the I-94 East-West freeway.
  • Declining support since September 2009 for commuter rail and for high speed rail to Madison.
  • Support for a downtown Milwaukee streetcar system is strongest among Milwaukee County residents, although about a third of respondents overall say they would regularly use a streetcar to get around downtown Milwaukee.
  • Over half of respondents say they would support a $0.01 per-gallon increase in the gas tax to fund transportation improvements. This funding option is more popular than toll roads or increases in the vehicle registration fee. With respect to funding the Milwaukee County Transit System in particular, most agree that a half-cent sales tax is the "best option."

For the Research Brief and full results, please go to the poll's website.

Anneliese Dickman