RELEASE: Strong majority of Montgomery voters support county’s plan for a Bus Rapid Transit Network, according to new poll

February 27, 2014

Kelly Blynn, Coalition for Smarter Growth, 610-220-5378
David Hauck, Executive Director for Communities for Transit, 301-787-5527

A poll commissioned by the regional advocacy organization Coalition for Smarter Growth found strong support among Montgomery County voters for investment in a new Bus Rapid Transit network (BRT).

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After listening to a list of positive and negative perspectives on Montgomery County’s planned BRT network, likely Montgomery voters expressed support for the system by a margin of 71 to 22 percent.

“Montgomery County voters understand that something must be done to address our traffic, and it’s clear they believe that Bus Rapid Transit connecting the county’s busiest areas is the best, most affordable option,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved an 81-mile Bus Rapid Transit network in November 2013, and the County is now initiating studies on four initial lines serving US29, Route 355, Veirs Mill Road, and Georgia Avenue.

The poll shows an increasing number of Montgomery County voters are familiar with the BRT plan, though a significant proportion remains unfamiliar with the plan. However, after hearing a series of nine statements on perceived positive and negative attributes of the system, 71 percent of the voters polled support implementing the system.

“With limited road space, it’s time to think creatively about how to move people efficiently. Most people intuitively understand that transit can move more people than cars. In fact, three-quarters of those polled support the BRT because it can move more people per lane, reducing the number of cars competing for already congested roads,” said David Hauck, Executive Director of Communities for Transit.

A solid majority of county residents also believe that transit investments, not new highways, are the right way to move forward for Montgomery’s transportation future. By a two to one margin, county voters rated transit investments a better way to address traffic congestion than new highways.

“Voters understand that building new and wider roads puts our neighborhoods at risk, increases air pollution, and won’t solve our traffic problem,” said Kelly Blynn, Next Generation of Transit Campaign Manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Mason-Dixon conducted the poll, which surveyed 400 likely voters in Montgomery County in January 2014. Members of the press who are interested in speaking directly to the pollster should contact the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington D.C. region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Its mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish.

Communities for Transit (CFT) is a new county-based non-profit organization that focuses on community outreach to build awareness of the compelling case for rapid transit as an effective response to Montgomery County’s traffic problems.

Please contact Kelly Blynn at 610-220-5378 for the toplines of the poll, or to arrange an interview with Mason-Dixon.