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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicago suburbanites now favor more transit spending, poll shows

From an article by Jon Hilkevitch in the Chicago Tribune:

Reflecting the increasing strain of gridlocked traffic, a majority of Chicago-area residents think improving bus and train service is so important to the region that repairing and expanding expressways and toll roads should take a back seat, a Tribune/WGN poll shows.

Most suburbanites support investing more in mass transit than roads, sharing the long-held stance of a large majority of city residents, the poll found. Suburban residents also said they are driving less and taking more advantage of expanded suburban train and bus service in communities where the automobile has been king.

Drivers who said they would back spending more on mass transit cited the growing stress associated with congestion; high gasoline prices; and, to a lesser degree, the environmental and financial benefits of riding transit instead of inhaling belching emissions from cars.

Jim Ceithaml, a semiretired teacher from Elgin, said he has given up driving.

"I wish the mass-transit system were expanded a lot," he said, particularly suburb-to-suburb service that has been promised for years. . . .

Fifty-two percent of suburbanites said they agree with investing more of limited government resources in public transit, versus 32 percent who chose improvements to highways and toll roads. In a 1999 Tribune poll, 34 percent of suburban residents said more money should be spent on mass transit than on roads.

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