Poll: 68 percent want more transit spending

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Sixty-eight percent of U.S. residents want more federal spending on public transportation systems, according to a polled released on Monday by a Washington, D.C.-based transit advocacy group.

The survey, which was conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute for American Public Transportation Association (APTA), showed a two point increase in support increased transit funding than a similar poll that was conducted last year according to the groups.

APTA President Michael Melaniphy said the findings showed Congress should including more money for public transit systems in the next round of transportation bill it is scheduled to consider next spring.

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“We believe Congress should move swiftly on a robust long-term funding plan for the next surface transportation bill, and not wait until the extension deadline of May 31,” Melaniphy said in a statement.  “Americans understand the importance of investing in public transportation because it  is a catalyst to transforming their community.”

The transit groups said their poll found that 74 percent of U.S. residents "support the use of tax dollars for creating, expanding, and improving public transportation options in their communities."

They groups added that 88 percent of their poll's respondents "agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to new jobs and careers as well as to medical care, schools, and colleges."

APTA's Michael Melaniphy said the findings made clear that Congress should spend more to boost transit systems in the U.S. 

“Research data shows support for increased revenues for public transportation," he said. "This support continues to increase because Americans realize that everyone benefits from public transit investments through the economic growth in their community, even if they do not ride it."

The last transportation funding bill that was approved by Congress, which is a nearly $11 billion measure, is scheduled to expire in May 2015.