For those of you who have ever worked to get a trail, greenway, bike path or sidewalk built, you know that it is no easy task.
But of all the obstacles our community faces, the one that poses the greatest threat to trails comes from elected officials who claim that investing in biking and walking infrastructure is a frivolous use of public funds.
In recent years, biking and walking infrastructure has become a popular target for some federal lawmakers looking to gain political points by highlighting their fiscal conservatism. The perceived political wisdom was that their constituents felt the same way—that federal funds should not be spent on biking and walking.
But no one had asked them. So we did.
In September, RTC engaged leading Republican and Democratic pollsters to find out what likely 2016 voters for both parties really thought about the federal role in encouraging active transportation. The survey reached a proportion of Republican and Democratic voters that matched the national voting population, and was rigorously designed and vetted to ensure scientific accuracy.
The remarkable findings serve as a warning to opponents of federal walking and biking investment that such a political strategy will put them at odds with the people they represent.
We now know that four times as many voters favor increasing or maintaining current levels of federal investment in walking and biking paths as decreasing them (74 percent – 19 percent) and that strong majorities support this funding regardless of political affiliation.
The poll findings will be an important tool for trail builders and supporters as we continue to fight back attacks to trail funding.
With a new federal transportation bill due to be negotiated in 2015, it is vitally important that the messages contained in these poll findings are broadly heard.
We encourage you to download the poll findings and additional resources below and to share them with supporters, opponents, decision-makers and the general public in your community.
- The Poll Summary – A handy two-page PDF with key findings and implications for policy-making
- The Full Topline Survey – A deeper dive into the data
- The Presentation – Created by the Republican and Democratic pollsters on survey highlights
- The Press Release – A summary of the poll plus comments from RTC
If you’d like more information, please contact our Policy Department.