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11 CHAPTER THREE PUBLIC OPINION DATA ON TOLLING AND ROAD PRICING This chapter presents public opinion data on tolling and road ments provided by the survey organization to the sponsoring pricing. The politics and practice of tolling and road pricing organization. are constantly evolving as new issues hit the public agenda, as experiences with tolling and road pricing projects are com- municated, as new players enter the industry, and as new TRADITIONAL TOLLING technologies alter what is possible in terms of toll collection. Data in this section represent public opinion on traditional Because of this, the synthesis focuses primarily on recent data tolling projects. A traditional toll road (bridge or tunnel) (i.e., since 2000), but also notes older or longitudinal data as requires toll collections from all drivers (usually with the appropriate. exception of emergency vehicles). Typically, those tolls are used to support operations and maintenance, as well as to pay The public opinion data are presented chronologically in debt service on the bonds issued to finance the toll facility. seven categories: (1) traditional tolling, (2) express toll lanes, The toll rate does not typically vary by time of day or day of (3) high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, (4) cordon tolling or area the week. Tolls may be collected at a flat rate at toll plazas or charging, (5) publicprivate partnerships, (6) tax-related ini- based on distance traveled using tickets, electronic transpon- tiatives for transportation infrastructure funding, and (7) sur- ders, or video recording of license plates. Many existing tra- veys on a range of road pricing and funding issues. Within ditional toll roads are converting to some form of electronic each category, the individual public opinion polls or surveys toll collection, with most new toll projects incorporating the are numbered sequentially for cross-referencing purposes. option to pay electronically. Managed lanes are not listed as a distinct category because the definition varies from agency to agency and may be used to refer to many different applications, including high-occupancy 1. Orange County, California (1999) vehicle (HOV) lanes, HOT lanes, or other special use lanes. In this document, research associated with managed lanes is pre- Method: Survey. Universe: Orange County residents. Sample sented in the HOT lane section if single-occupancy vehicles size: N = 600. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: (SOVs) will be charged the toll; otherwise the research is pre- Not reported. sented under express toll lanes. The Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) commissioned a In each description of the public opinion data, the sponsor poll that found 75% of respondents supported completion of of the research and the relevant public opinion measures are the toll road system (12). presented as well as pertinent information about the situa- tional context. When presenting the public opinion measures, 2. Statewide North Carolina (2000) the exact wording of the item is provided where it is known. In addition, each public opinion data source is annotated with Method: Survey. Universe: North Carolina registered voters. meta-information for evaluation and comparison purposes Sample size: N = 898. Margin of error: ± 3 percentage points. based on the method of collecting the data. For survey data, Sample type: Not reported. the meta-information include survey universe (i.e., who was asked the questions), sample size (i.e., number of respon- In October, the Your Voice, Your Vote partners (a coalition dents), margin of error (i.e., the results spread as a result of of North Carolina print and broadcast media companies) random sampling error), and sample type (i.e., method by surveyed North Carolina residents on issues relating to an which the sample was drawn). For focus groups, we provide upcoming election, including transportation issues (13). On the number of groups and number of individuals, and who the the issue of tolling, 52% of respondents supported "tolls on participants represent. For each, we have indicated whether new roads as a way of speeding construction." Seventy-three the research activity was conducted in languages other than percent said the "governor should make improving traffic English. When "not reported" is noted in the text, this is flow the primary basis of transportation policy decisions." Of because these details were not reported in the information these respondents, 46% reported that "traffic flow should be available for this synthesis. This does not necessarily mean the only basis for transportation decisions," and 27% said that this information was not reported in the survey docu- planners should consider "both traffic flow and the control of
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12 development and sprawl." In the poll, North Carolinians also 39% opposed the tollway. The survey indicated that the most noted that they were more concerned about shorter commutes persuasive argument for Foothill South was the "need for and cleaner cars than controlling urban sprawl or encouraging an alternative to I-5," and the most persuasive argument mass transit. against it was a "need for spending not on highways but on mass transit and getting cars off the road." The TCA poll also found that 74% believed that "toll roads can be built in 3. Chicago, Illinois (2001) an environmentally sensitive way." About 65% said "toll Method: Survey. Universe: Illinois registered voters. Sample roads have been helpful in relieving local traffic," whereas size: N = 1,012. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: 70% said "the roads have enhanced the quality of life in the Not reported. county by reducing stress from traffic and shortening com- mute times" (18). In May, the Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV conducted a poll to assess public reactions to the governor's plan to merge the 5. San Clemente, California (2001) Illinois State Toll Authority with the DOT, and eliminate the state's tollways (14). Most individuals surveyed believed Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters in San Clemente. "tollways were convenient to where they live," and among Sample size: N = 500. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample that group 58% believed the "roads were a good value for the type: Not reported. money"; with 33% disagreeing. Among those who said they used I-PASS, an electronic collection system, 71% consid- A telephone survey commissioned by TCA showed that 55% ered the tollways a good value. Fifty-two percent of regular of surveyed San Clemente residents supported the Foothill tollway users reported that they would be willing to pay more South project, the 16-mile extension of the Foothill (241) Toll to maintain and reconstruct the system at the risk of failing to Road (19). San Clemente was the location of the most vocal live up to the system's bond obligations, whereas 44% would opposition to the extension during public meetings. Thirty- not. Sixty-six percent of regular tollway users said stopping to seven percent said "toll roads should not be built because they pay tolls (at toll booths) was a bigger problem than the cost of encourage urban sprawl"; 56% believed that "developers will the tolls. Only 14% found the cost of the tolls more objec- build homes with or without the toll road extension, so roads tionable than stopping to pay them. Most respondents (74%) are needed"; 74% said "toll roads can be built in an environ- did not want gasoline taxes used to maintain the system if tolls mentally sensitive way"; and 72% noted that the "existing toll were eliminated (15). roads have helped relieve traffic in Orange County." Half of the respondents in San Clemente rated the performance of the 4. Orange County, California (2001) existing 241 Tollway as good or excellent, compared with 39% in the county as a whole. More than half of respondents Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters in Orange (61%) in San Clemente rated the San Joaquin Hills Toll County. Sample size: N = 1,201. Margin of error: ±4.3% to Road as good or excellent, compared with 46% in the county 5.7%. Sample type: Not reported. as a whole. In May, a telephone survey commissioned by TCA found that most people surveyed in Orange County were support- 6. Orange County, California (2001) ive of the 241 Toll Road extension (i.e., Foothill-South), a Method: Survey. Universe: Adult residents of Orange County; 16-mile tollway from Oso Parkway in Mission Viejo to Inter- English, Spanish. Sample size: N = 2,004. Margin of error: state 5 south of San Clemente (16). TCA oversees Orange ± 3 percentage points. Sample type: Random digit dial (RDD). County's 51-mile public toll road system. At the time of the survey, TCA was anticipating selling more revenue bonds In September, the Public Policy Institute of California in col- to finance the extension of the Foothill Eastern toll road laboration with the University of California, Irvine, conducted after 2004. Several articles were found relating to the sur- its first annual series of surveys in Orange County (20). The vey results, most likely because the extension faced substan- majority of residents surveyed (54%) believed the toll roads tial opposition from environmental groups because the pro- (including the Foothill, San Joaquin Hills, and Eastern Cor- posed routes crossed open space and a habitat for endangered ridor) have been a good thing for the transportation system. species. This survey asked respondents for their initial view Only 12% stated that they had been bad. Twenty-five percent on completing the toll road and then repeated these ques- said toll roads had made no difference. Fifty-nine percent tions following a presentation of pro and con arguments (17 ). would favor construction of the Foothill Toll Road South, Before receiving the pro and con arguments about complet- from I-5 south of San Clemente to the existing Foothill Toll ing the extension, 58% of respondents supported completing Road along Mission Viejo, 26% would oppose construction, the Foothill South project, and 29% opposed completing it. and 15% were not sure. Completion of the toll road was favored After hearing the arguments, the survey found that 54% of more by younger individuals (57%) and those with incomes county voters supported the Foothill South project, whereas of $80,000 or more (64%).
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13 7. Lee County, Florida (2001) undeveloped areas of the county"; 29% disagreed. Fifty-four percent said the "toll road won't provide long-term traffic Method: Survey. Universe: Drivers in Lee County. Sample solution in the south county"; 40% disagreed. size: N = 1,739. Margin of error: N/A. Sample type: Conve- nience; drivers who stopped at intersections. 10. Central Florida (2002) A survey was conducted by researchers from Texas A&M University to gain insight into the potential driver reaction to Method: Survey. Universe: Households in District (parts of an intersection queue jump (IQJ) (21). An IQJ is an elevated Lake, Seminole, and Volusia Counties). Sample size: Not ramp or side lane that can be used by motorists normally reported, but surveys mailed to 12,500 households. Margin stopped in traffic at an intersection to bypass the intersection of error: Not reported. Sample type: Not reported. and traffic congestion. Drivers were surveyed about their over- all perception of the IQJ concept and their willingness to pay In April, a mail survey of residents in parts of Lake, Seminole, to use one. Sixty-seven percent of respondents approved of the and Volusia counties by the District Representative's office found that 55% of those surveyed supported an extension of IQJ concept. In addition, approximately 54% of surveyed the Western Expressway toll road, 26% opposed it, and 19% drivers indicated a willingness to pay at least a small amount said they did not know (24). The article is quoted as saying to use the IQJ. Likelihood of using the IQJ was associated with that the early returns showed strong support for the new toll being married with children, and having a household income road connection, and that support waned as more surveys of less than $16,000 or more than $75,000. Decreasing the were returned. In addition, there were differences by county. likelihood of using the IQJ was being on a shopping trip, The proposed toll road extension was between state route age 65 or older, or being male. (SR) 417 in Seminole County and Apopka in Orange County (near Orlando). Seventy-three percent of the respondents in 8. Orange County, California (2002) Seminole County checked "yes" when asked if they sup- ported the connection; 58% of Volusia residents checked Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters in Orange "yes," whereas less than 50% of respondents from Lake County. Sample size: N = 1,200. Margin of error: Not reported. County checked "yes." Sample type: Not reported. In May, the TCA commissioned a second poll about support or 11. New York, New York (2002) opposition to the construction of an extension to the Foothill Method: Survey. Universe: New York state residents. Sam- South (22). This poll was conducted by the same organization ple size: N = 1,402. Margin of error: ± 2.6%. Sample type: that executed the survey in 2001. After being told the argu- Not reported. ments, the survey found that 58% of county voters surveyed supported the Foothill South project; 36% opposed the toll- In February, a survey by the Quinnipiac University Polling way, and about 5% were undecided. Institute showed a strong opposition to placing tolls on the presently toll free East River (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williams- burg, and Queensboro) bridges (25). Twenty-one percent of 9. San Clemente, California (2002) those surveyed said "yes" that the state legislature should Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters in San Clemente. approve of a New York City toll on the bridges, and 65% said Sample size: N = 500. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample "no." Fourteen percent were not sure. Opposition was higher type: Not reported. in New York City (74%) than upstate (52%). In May, a telephone survey commissioned by TCA found that 12. Citrus County, Florida (2002) after pro and con arguments were presented, 54% of San Clemente residents surveyed supported the Foothill South, Method: Survey. Universe: Citrus County residents. Sample the 16-mile extension of the Foothill (241) Toll Road, and size: N = 800. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: 40% opposed it. Six percent were undecided (23). Thirty- RDD, probability. eight percent said "toll roads should not be built because they encourage urban sprawl"; 56% believed that "developers will In March, the University of South Florida's Center for Urban build homes with or without the toll road extension, so roads Transportation Research conducted a survey as part of a study are needed." Sixty-one percent said they favored "toll roads to to determine whether the Suncoast Parkway extension in Cit- provide another option to Orange County freeways," whereas rus County should be built and, if so, where (26). Fifty-one 37% opposed toll roads. Sixty-four percent stated that "traffic percent of those surveyed said "yes" there was a "need for is going to get worse, and the toll road is a way to handle toll roads such as the Suncoast Parkway in Citrus County." increasing traffic"; 34% disagreed. Sixty-five percent said the Slightly more than one-third (35%) answered "no" to that sur- "toll road will worsen sprawl by encouraging more homes in vey question, and 14% reported that that they had not heard of
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14 the project. When asked specifically for their opinions on the Method: Focus groups. Number: Two groups. Participants: Suncoast Parkway Project (26), 59% supported construction Randomly selected truck dispatchers; one group from for- of the road--34% with strong support, 17% if certain condi- hire carriers; one group from private carriers. tions were met, and 8% if certain locations were avoided. Only 13% opposed the road outright. The majority of the indi- In January 2004, focus groups with truck dispatchers were viduals surveyed (58%) were newcomers who had moved to conducted for the same study as previously discussed (28). Citrus County since 1990. Use of E-ZPass was more prevalent in the for-hire group than in the private carrier group. Those who recalled anything about time-of-day pricing dismissed it as inconsequential. 13. Orange County, California (2003) The discounts were too small and they did not feel that they had the flexibility to travel off-peak. They believed that they Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters in Orange would make more money by traveling the fastest route even County. Sample size: N = 1,200. Margin of error: Not if the tolls were higher on that route. They were resigned to reported. Sample type: Not reported. and not concerned about the price of tolls because increases In June, TCA commissioned its third annual survey about the could be passed on to their customers. extension of the Foothill South Tollway (27). The survey was Method: Survey. Universe: Adult users of PANYNJ facilities. conducted just as the agency was about to release an alterna- Sample size: N = 505. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample tive analysis of three toll road routes and three non-tollway type: Not reported. options for improving traffic in south Orange County as part of the environmental impact study for the road. Support A passenger survey was conducted to capture opinions on declined slightly--from 56% to 53%--when those polled different toll-related issues: impact of time-of-day pricing were informed of pro and con arguments regarding the toll on traffic, fairness of the pricing, and willingness to pay road. Support for the project was highest in South County, more for better services (28). A small percentage (15%) where 65% of those polled expressed support. Approximately reported that they believed the time-of-day pricing had an 74% of respondents countywide said that "roads can be built effect on traffic. Of those, most believed the traffic was a to be environmentally safe." Of those who have never used lot worse. The majority of those surveyed (85%) agreed one, 60% opposed toll road construction. that it would be fair to give discounts to E-ZPass users. Most (78%) were E-ZPass users themselves. However, 14. New York Metro Area (2003) 66% of cash users also approved of providing toll dis- counts to E-ZPass users. When asked if it is a good idea to Method: Focus groups. Number: Four groups. Participants: vary toll rates during different times of day to help improve Randomly selected passenger car drivers; three groups com- traffic congestion, 59% of respondents agreed. However, prised of E-ZPass users; one group that paid cash to travel when asked if it was fair to charge higher bridge and tunnel on Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) tolls during peak travel periods, agreement dropped to 26%. facilities; all used the PANYNJ facility at least once a week Eighty-three percent agreed that it was fair to provide dis- since 2001. counts to frequent travelers. Sixty-five percent of the respon- dents also indicated that it was fair to use the toll revenues to In December 2003, PANYNJ sponsored focus groups to support public transit. Forty-two percent were willing to pay assess its facilities users' opinions about various aspects per- more for a faster trip, and 37% would pay more for a more taining to a time-of-day initiative (28). Time-of-day pricing reliable trip. went into effect in 2001 as a means for reducing congestion, increasing use of transit and E-ZPass, and facilitating com- Method: Survey. Universe: Commercial carriers that use mercial traffic control management. Before the focus group PANYNJ facilities. Sample size: N = 200. Margin of error: discussions, most participants seemed to be unaware or con- Not reported. Sample type: Not reported. fused about the time-of-day pricing program with its sys- tem of tolls and discounts. When it was explained, reactions A survey of private and for-hire carriers who have used the ranged from neutral to disinterest to irritation that they were PANYNJ toll facilities for at least three years was con- being manipulated by the agency that was running the facili- ducted as part of the larger study (28). The carriers who ties on which they traveled. Passenger drivers rejected off- could remember the 2001 toll increase owing to time- peak toll discounts because the discount was too small to of-day pricing believed that it had little, if any, impact on alter travel plans. Participants believed altering plans would traffic conditions. Most believed traffic congestion had not only be inconvenient, but also cost more money and men- gotten worse. Most surveyed carriers (92%) believed that tal energy. Very few saw the benefit of traveling off-peak it would be fair to give E-ZPass users a discount. Most as a way to address traffic congestion. Almost all resented (88%) were also in favor of charging less in tolls during having to pay tolls and did not feel they got much value for off-peak hours, and most (80%) were against charging their money. more during peak hours.
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15 15. Orange County, California (2003) ported toll roads when asked if they "favor or oppose toll roads as one means of reducing traffic congestion in Baton Rouge" Method: Survey. Universe: Adult residents of Orange County; (31). Before asking this question, respondents were told that English, Spanish. Sample size: N = 1,004. Margin of error: "federal, state, and local transportation funds are being cut, and ± 3 percentage points. Sample type: RDD. many states and communities are building and using toll roads as the best way to address traffic congestion." At the time of In December, the Public Policy Institute of California, in col- the poll, proposals were being floated that would create a toll laboration with the University of California, Irvine, conducted road to bypass the northern part of the city and connect Inter- another special survey of Orange County (29). The majority of state 10 west of Port Allen with Interstate 12 in the Denham surveyed residents (52%) believed that the toll roads (includ- Springs area. ing the Foothill, San Joaquin Hills, and Eastern Corridor) had been good for the transportation system. Only 15% said they had been bad, and 22% said that they had made no difference. 18. Orange County, California (2004) Toll roads were favored more by younger individuals (57%) and those with incomes of $80,000 or more (64%). Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters in Orange County. Sample size: N = 1,100. Margin of error: ±4.3% to 5.7% (for different geographical subgroups). Sample type: 16. Tyler, Texas (2004) Not reported. Method: Focus groups. Number: Three groups, with 8 indi- In June, TCA commissioned its fourth annual telephone sur- viduals each. Participants: Tyler residents. vey about the extension of the Foothill South Tollway, which was conducted by the same survey organization that had done In February, the Texas DOT (TxDOT) sponsored several the previous three surveys (32). Sixty-one percent of respon- research activities to gauge the public's perceptions of tolling dents supported toll roads in Orange County as a way of pro- Loop 49, a proposed regional outer loop around the city of viding an alternative option to the freeways, and 33% were Tyler (30). At the time of the research, the Texas Transporta- opposed (33). Before the reading of the pro and con state- tion Commission had directed TxDOT to examine all projects ments, 54% supported the project and 23% opposed it. After for toll viability. Tyler, a mid-size urban/rural city in northeast hearing the pros and cons associated with completing the Texas, had no toll roads, and the research was conducted to gain Foothill South, 57% supported the project and 37% opposed it. an understanding of the public's acceptance of tolls. Focus In San Clemente, where the most vocal opposition was based, groups were held with residents of varied socioeconomic and 56% supported the completion of the Foothill South, whereas demographic characteristics. Participants believed that toll 35% opposed it, and 9% were undecided. roads were convenient in some situations, primarily in larger cities, but that Tyler was not big enough to warrant a toll road. 19. Statewide Wisconsin (2004) Method: Survey. Universe: Residents of Tyler. Sample size: N = 199. Margin of error: Not applicable. Sample type: Con- Method: Survey. Universe: Wisconsin residents. Sample size: venience, shoppers at a mall. N = 500. Margin of error: ± 3.5 percentage points. Sample type: Not reported. A survey was also conducted with shoppers at a centrally located mall. Most respondents (84%) agreed that Loop 49 In July, a survey conducted for a two-year civic journalism was needed (30). Seventy-eight percent agreed that "tolling project called Building the New Wisconsin Economy found Loop 49 will keep some people from using it"; 9% disagreed; that 53% of surveyed Wisconsinites would oppose turning and 13% were neutral. About half of respondents (49%) some of the state's highways into toll roads (34). Eighty per- agreed that "tolling Loop 49 was a good way to pay for the cent of respondents said they would support investing more road"; 32% disagreed and 19% were neutral. Thirty-five per- money in the highway system and energy infrastructure, but cent agreed that "using [a] gasoline tax is a better way than they would not want toll roads or higher energy bills. A large charging a toll to pay for new construction"; 37% disagreed majority (79%) believed that the state was maintaining the and 28% were neutral. highway system well. 17. Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2004) 20. Statewide California (2004) Method: Survey. Universe: Individuals who voted in three of Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters. Sample size: the past five elections. Sample size: N = 400. Margin of error: N = 608. Margin of error: ±4%. Sample type: Not reported. ± 5%. Sample type: Not reported. In August, the Field Poll was commissioned by the Press- In April, a poll funded and drafted by the political action arm Enterprise and other California media subscribers to con- of the chamber of commerce found that 57% of voters sup- duct a survey of California voters about a 2,500 page report
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16 that had been released by a panel appointed by Governor 23. San Antonio, Texas (2005) Schwarzenegger to root out waste in state government (35). The board made approximately 1,000 proposals that they Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters. Sample Size: N = believed could save the state billions of dollars over a five- 500. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: Not reported. year period. The following are the results relating to trans- portation savings. Forty-one percent of those surveyed sup- In June, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority, which builds ported "increasing the state's number of toll roads to provide toll roads, commissioned a survey of local attitudes (39). more revenue for highway building and repair," and 54% Forty-nine percent polled said they were against toll roads, opposed the idea. The commissioners did not recommend whereas 44% were in favor. After being told details and how specific freeways for new toll lanes, although the report toll roads would help, the approval rate increased to 58%, mentioned that San Diego-area freeways had been cited as whereas opposition dropped to 34%. possible candidates. Respondents also did not support plans to transfer responsibility for some state highways to 24. Austin, Texas (2005) local government--34% supported the idea, whereas 54% opposed it. Method: Survey. Universe: Adults residing in Bastrop, Cald- well, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties who are poten- 21. Austin, Texas (2005) tial users of the toll roads under construction. Sample size: N = 1,500. Margin of error: ± 2% percentage points. Sample Method: Focus groups. Number: Three groups of 10 individ- type: RDD. uals each. Participants: Adults residing in Bastrop, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties. In July, TxDOT sponsored a survey to assess baseline attitudes toward toll roads among potential users in central Texas (40). In March, TxDOT sponsored focus groups with a random When asked a general question about whether toll roads were sample of potential toll road users, defined as currently using needed, 45% of central Texans surveyed believed that toll roadways parallel to planned toll roads in central Texas and roads were needed, and 49% believed they were not needed holding positive or neutral attitudes about the toll road plan (6% did not know or refused to answer). The most frequent (36). The focus groups revealed that central Texans have com- reasons mentioned for toll roads not being necessary were "not plex sets of attitudes about toll roads. For most, toll road issues wanting to pay another tax" (21%), followed by "don't want to were not black or white and therefore could not easily be cap- pay the toll," "need to look for alternative transportation fund- tured with global "yes" or "no" types of questions. Even indi- ing," and "need to look for transportation alternatives" (10% viduals who believed the system of toll roads was a good idea each). When specifically asked about toll roads under con- had questions and doubts about the actual implementation of struction in the region, the majority (51%) supported such con- the toll road plan in central Texas by TxDOT. People's atti- struction. When provided with a set of alternatives to building tudes were still being formed, were not stable, and were sen- toll roads, 20% did not believe there were better alternatives to sitive to new information as it arose. Central Texans were not toll roads, 19% wanted increased funding for public transit, novice toll road users. Most individuals had prior positive and 11% wanted to build more roads with current transporta- experience in using toll roads. Negative experiences regard- tion dollars. When provided with a list of potential traffic relief ing congestion caused by correct change toll booths or safety strategies, 68% preferred "converting an existing lane into a issues caused by poor signage were mentioned, but did not carpool lane." Least preferred was implementing a local gas seem to negatively prejudice them. tax (23% preferred). At the time of the survey, several toll roads were under construction or planned, including U.S. 183A, SH 45 North, Loop 1 North, and SH 130. 22. Orange County, California (2005) Method: Survey. Universe: Orange County voters. Sample 25. Austin, Texas (2005) size: N = 1,200. Margin of error: ±4.4% to 5.6%. Sample type: Not reported. Method: Focus groups. Number: Four groups. Participants: Not reported. In June, TCA commissioned the fifth annual public opinion survey related to the extension of the Foothill South Tollway In July, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority spon- (37 ). Fifty-four percent of Orange County residents surveyed sored focus groups to discuss transportation issues (41). Many supported plans to complete the last segment of the Foothill, had used toll roads in other areas of the country and reported 23% opposed them, and 23% were undecided (38). After read- having good experiences. "Tollways are a good idea but only ing the arguments for and against, respondents were again for new construction, not for existing roads." The general con- asked for their opinions on this plan. With more information, sensus for funding new roads was that it should not come from support increased to 57%, but opposition increased as well to taxes because taxes were already too high. Most participants 37%. The undecided segment dropped to 6%. would not mind paying tolls because the planning that goes
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17 into them is much superior to the standard roadways. There a way to pay for expensive transportation projects, whereas appeared to be a high expectation that tolls would be elimi- 38% favored them (44). These were the same percentages nated once the roadway is paid for. Perceived benefits of new found in 2004. The article stated that two weeks before the tolls included less pollution, increased fuel efficiency, short- poll, the El Paso City Council voted 5 to 3 to petition the ening of travel time in emergencies, increased safety--fewer Texas Transportation Commission for the power to establish accidents, improved quality of life, and convenience. a Regional Mobility Authority that would use road toll rev- enues to provide the supplemental funding needed to get Method: Survey. Universe: Not reported. Sample size: N = expensive and much needed highway projects started decades 1,060. Margin of error: ± 3 percentage points. Sample type: ahead of schedule. The article also mentioned that tolls would Not reported. not be paid at traditional toll booths, but electronically. In August, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority commissioned a survey of local attitudes about tolls, taxes, 28. San Clemente, California (2006) and traffic (41,42). Thirty-eight percent of the respondents believed the best way to pay for new roads was to charge tolls Method: Survey. Universe: San Clemente residents. Sample and 37% said the best way was to increase taxes. When asked size: N = 400. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: whether there was a need for toll roads, half of central Texans Not reported. (50%) said "no" and 42% said "yes." Sixty percent believed In July, the city of San Clemente, California, commissioned a adding toll lanes to existing roads was a "bad idea," compared survey (the second in two years) to gauge local residents' with 26% who believed it was a "good idea." Seventy-eight views of and their satisfaction with city services (45). Survey percent believed "converting existing roads into toll roads" results indicated that managing traffic congestion and manag- was a "bad idea," compared with 13% who believed it was a ing growth were the most important issues (both at 68%) to "good idea." Nearly half (47%) said "yes" they "plan to use residents compared with preventing ocean pollution (63%), toll roads in central Texas," and 44% said "no." Sixty-eight fire/paramedic service (62%), policy service (61%), and beach percent thought it was a "bad idea" to charge "higher tolls maintenance (59%). Fifty-five percent of respondents sup- during rush hour to discourage unnecessary trips," and 25% ported the extension of the Foothill South tollway, whereas thought it was a "good idea." Fifty-three percent thought is a 37% opposed it. Also related to transportation, 66% supported "good idea" to charge "lower tolls during off-peak hours to an expansion of the Metrolink train service, whereas 22% encourage drivers to avoid peak-hour travel," and 37% thought opposed it. it was a "bad idea." One-half (50%) supported the "efforts of groups who oppose the toll road plan for various philosophical reasons," and 31% opposed the efforts of these groups. 29. Statewide Maine (2006) Method: Survey. Universe: Maine residents, 18 years of age or 26. Statewide Utah (2006) older, head of household. Sample Size: N = 400. Margin of error: ±4 percentage points. Sample type: RDD. Method: Survey. Universe: Utah residents. Sample size: N = 415. Margin of error: ± 5%. Sample type: Not reported. In December, the Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA) commis- sioned a telephone survey to benchmark a variety of citizen In February, a poll sponsored by the Utah DOT (UDOT) perceptions and attitudes (46). Surveys had been conducted showed that 55% of Utah residents surveyed would support since 1999. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they sup- construction of toll roads in the state if it meant a needed road ported the idea of funding the fixing of a highway or bridge for could be built within the next 3 years versus the next 20 years safety reasons through establishing tolls on the project as com- (43). Almost 40% opposed toll roads, regardless of when a pared with 19% who would support an increase in the state new road was to be built. The poll was taken when SB80, a bill gas tax, and 9% who would support canceling the project. that would allow UDOT to enter into publicprivate partner- The same percentage (56%) would support the idea of fund- ships (PPPs) to build toll roads, was being sponsored. The bill ing a new highway, bridge, or bypass through establishing eventually passed. tolls, 16% would support increasing the state gas tax, and 10% would support canceling the project. Sixty-nine percent 27. El Paso, Texas (2006) opposed using toll revenues from MTA to fund other state budget needs, whereas 24% favored the idea. Nine of 10 (88%) Method: Survey. Universe: Not reported. Sample size: Not rated the Maine Turnpike as being either "good" or "excel- reported. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: Not lent." Eight of 10 (81%) believe that the MTA is doing either reported. a "good" or an "excellent" job of managing the Turnpike. Nearly half (47%) found a statement pertaining to inadequate In February, an El Paso Times/KVIA ABC 7 poll showed that funding for transportation projects to be either "somewhat 59% of those residents of El Paso polled opposed toll roads as believable" (37%) or "very believable" (9%).