Survey: Americans Want DOTs to Factor Climate Change in Their Decisions

Graph: NRDC
Graphic: NRDC

Should we continue to let state transportation departments spend tens of billions of dollars in federal funds each year without regard to how highway expansions contribute to climate change? Right now U.S. DOT is looking to inject some accountability into a process that has created a very carbon-intensive transportation system, and a new poll suggests most Americans would welcome that.

The telephone survey of 1,000 adults, commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council, found that most Americans think that emissions from cars and trucks should factor into the decisions of transportation agencies. NRDC writes: “78 percent of Americans agree that ‘state transportation agencies should take vehicle-related carbon pollution and climate change into account when developing transportation plans, and also seek ways to reduce that pollution.'”

Responses varied somewhat across political lines, but solid majorities agree with the statement regardless of party: 92 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of Independents, and 64 percent of Republicans.

Support is especially strong among adults 18-34 (86 percent), women (88 percent), and Latinos (88 percent).

“We should modernize the way we plan and build the transportation systems of the future,” said Pete Altman, director of federal campaigns at NRDC. “President Obama has an opportunity, by delivering strong results, to cement a climate legacy as firmly grounded in transportation as it has been in the power sector.”

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