Public Opinion Research - 2011 (1.4Mb)
Public Opinion Research - 2009 (533Kb)
Public Opinion Research - 2005 (359Kb)
The most recent public opinion survey was conducted in 2011 by the UCF Institute for Social and Behavioral Sciences. The telephone survey of 830 adult residents covered Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. The telephone survey was augmented by an Internet survey completed online by 112 respondents. The two data sets are analyzed separately in the report. Click below to view the full report.
Several key themes emerged from the public opinion research.
Transportation issues are important to the vast majority. Very large majorities agree (54%) or agree strongly (34%) that “improving Central Florida’s transportation system is important to me.” Almost three-quarters do NOT agree that “what is now being done to improve our transportation system is adequate to address our problems.” Transportation issues are seen by area residents as matters of public policy deserving of greater attention. It appears that Central Florida residents are still looking to policy makers for more aggressive efforts to find solutions to transportation problems and the means to fund them.
Residents feel that too little is spent on transportation. Almost two in three agree (53%) or agree strongly (12%) that improvements in the transportation system mean that “we will have to increase funding through taxes and/or fees.” One question asked, “Given that state and local governments in Florida must divide their budgets among many competing needs, would you say that generally, government spends too much, too little, or about the right amount on transportation?” Two-thirds (68%) said that too little was currently being spent. Only 8% thought that too much was being spent; the remainder felt that current expenditures were “about right.”
Residents strongly support public transportation as part of a balanced transportation system. In 2009, we introduced an agree-disagree question that read, “The only realistic solution to transportation and congestion issues in the region is to stop building highways and instead invest in public transportation – like passenger rail and bus systems.” In 2009, 47% agreed that this was true. In 2011, agreement jumped up to 64%, probably the most dramatic shift in public opinion documented in the new survey. As in previous surveys, expanding the I-4 traffic capacity by adding lanes continues to receive majority support. Large majorities continue to endorse a more balanced transportation system, to seek greater convenience from the bus system, and to endorse passenger rail.
Most people cannot identify how transportation is funded. Although most funding for transportation projects continues to come from gasoline taxes, only about one in five respondents identifies “gas taxes” as the primary current method of paying for transportation projects. As in 2009, the plurality opinion was that user fees (i.e., tolls) accounted for most transportation funding. And almost one in four was unable to answer the question.
There are inconsistencies between transportation funding options in theory versus in practice. Regardless of how people think transportation projects are funded now, “pay for what you use” is the preferred method for future transportation funding. One question asked, “In general, which of the following funding options is most appealing -- increased property taxes, increased sales taxes, or a ‘pay for what you use’ approach, for example, through more tolls and gas and vehicle taxes?” Some 62% favored “pay for what you use,” vs. 23% from sales tax increases, 6% out of property taxes, and 9% favoring “some combination.” There is growing sentiment, now embraced by a majority, that more toll roads may well be the most acceptable (and realistic) transportation funding option.
Though most preferred “pay for what you use,” when given specific examples of this method, support was not as enthusiastic. One question asked:
Generally speaking, should the fees that people pay to register their vehicles take into account the gasoline mileage those vehicles achieve? That is, should the fees be lower for vehicles that get more miles per gallon, and higher for vehicles that get fewer miles per gallon? Or should everyone pay the same registration fee regardless of their gas mileage?
The “use more, pay more” principle was rejected by 63%, endorsed by 33%, with the remainder neutral or uninformed on the issue. Thus there is some inconsistency between these and earlier results that suggested more enthusiasm for “pay for what you use” than these later questions indicate.
View the documents below to learn about public opinion research from previous years:
Aug 30, 2010 • 533Kb
Aug 30, 2010 • 359Kb