Majority of Texans surveyed want passenger rail service – local, regional and intercity

(TRA) Austin - A study conducted by a research group at the University of Texas at the request of the Texas Department of Transportation shows that an overwhelming majority of Texans surveyed not only want more passenger rail service in their area and statewide, but they are willing to commit tax dollars and additional resources to make it happen. The same survey showed support for working on roads and highways but soundly rejected new toll roads.

The survey of 2,000 Texans was presented to the I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee in Austin in 2011.

The I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee members were made up of independent citizens interested in the future of the corridor and provided TxDOT with a citizen’s view of how the corridor should be developed. The committee held public meetings from 2010 through 2012.

In August 2011, after extensive input from citizens, community leaders and business owners, the committee issued the My35 Plan to improve safety, mobility and economic development along the entire I-35 corridor.

The survey measured transportation attitudes toward both road and rail transportation issues on the I-35 corridor in particular and also sampled citizen views around the state.

Respondents favored spending tax dollars on improving intercity passenger rail service, edging out building new roads and highways.

A majority of respondents were willing to commit their tax dollars toward building high speed rail in Texas.

When asked if additional resources should be marshaled for expanding passenger rail service between cities, a majority of the respondents (78%) were favorable. The additional resources were not specific in nature. Current Amtrak service was not included.

Bringing the rail questions down to a regional and local level, a majority of respondents favorably agreed that public transportation would be improved with more commuter and light rail service.

Extending existing light rail or commuter rail services also received a positive nod.

On the road side of questions, a majority of Texans still agreed that they are willing to spend tax dollars building new roads and highways but rejected the idea of expanding toll roads.

Those surveyed expect traffic and transportation in general to get much worse in the next ten years. Respondents said they are open to a wide range of ideas for addressing traffic in key trouble spots.

Survey method.