Three-quarters of Eastern U.S. voters support a “multi-state Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI),” to help jumpstart the struggling economy in the wake of COVID-19, according to a poll of 3,800 voters surveyed just after the Nov. election by Climate Nexus and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) on behalf of the Our Transportation Future (OTF) coalition. TCI is a regional collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop a “cleaner energy economy” and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • 8 in 10 voters support their governor working with other governors in the region, in a nod to the success of regional cooperation to “address issues beyond the pandemic, such as expanding transportation.”
  • 94% say it is important to ensure essential workers can get to work safely and on time, followed by 88% of voters who say reducing both pollution and traffic congestion are key concerns.
  • Two-thirds of voters say communities of color, which are underserved by the current transportation system while being burdened with a disproportionate share of its pollution, should be prioritized in transportation investments.

Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said: “Large majorities of voters want their state to join the Transportation and Climate Initiative to kickstart the regional economy, modernize transportation, reduce climate change, and expand the use of electric vehicles while prioritizing communities of color disproportionally affected by pollution.”

Lauren Bailey, director of climate policy, Tri-State Transportation Campaign (covering NY, NJ, and Conn.), said: “Throughout the pandemic, the tri-state region has not stopped moving: Essential workers need buses and trains to get to work and do their jobs. Voters want to see our states work together to save transit, reduce emissions and prioritize underserved, overburdened communities. Signing onto the TCI policy is a key first step to investing in a clean, new transportation landscape.”

Alli Gold Roberts, director, state policy program, Ceres, said: “Voters are well aligned with more than 100 businesses in their support for TCI and the urgent need for states to work together to decarbonize transportation. Now is the time for Governors to show leadership in moving this program forward.”

Other key survey findings included:

  • Fewer than a third of voters think states are investing enough in repairing existing roads and bridges. More than half say states aren’t investing enough.
  • Majorities support TCI “as part of the recovery from the pandemic” in every surveyed state – from 56% in Maine to 75% in New York and Maryland.
  • 73% – including 56% of Republicans, 67% of independents, and 86% of Democrats – say that if the federal government doesn’t work to reduce pollution, state governments should step in.
  • 83% of voters – including 69% of Republicans, 80% of independents, and 91% of Democrats – say it’s important for their state to reduce carbon pollution.

Source: Our Transportation Future