- Sierra Club has released the results of its Transportation Modernization Survey, and results show that 74% of respondents strongly or somewhat support a regional plan to modernize transportation, which would update how people and goods move throughout the region to reduce air pollution and improve residents' health. The plan would include investments in electric vehicles, public transportation and safer biking and walking infrastructure.
- Respondents are worried about pollution, with 73% saying air pollution is a somewhat or very serious problem. Meanwhile, 83% say cars and trucks contribute to pollution, and 71% somewhat or strongly support their state taking action to reduce car and truck pollution by investing in the transportation system.
- The survey gathered input from residents in 11 East Coast states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont — plus the District of Columbia. The survey asked questions about pollution, climate change, vehicular contributions to pollution and climate change, demographics and opinions on implementing a regional transportation modernization plan.
Sierra Club's survey was conducted in a part of the country where residents' voting habits skew Democratic and many lean more toward liberal ideologies than conservative. When asked with which political party they identify, 46% of respondents said Democratic, 27% said Republican and 28% said independent.
Political affiliations are relevant in this context because climate change tends to be a topic on which opinions are split down party lines. A recent Gallup poll found that partisan gaps on climate change have widened, with 91% of Democrats saying they worry a great deal or fair amount about climate change, but only 33% of Republicans responding that way. In fact, 69% of Republicans said that the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated in the news.
Political affiliation can also correlate with residents' desire for a regional transportation modernization plan to reduce climate change, which 74% of Sierra Club survey respondents support. In the Gallup poll, almost 90% of Democrats believed global warming is due more to human activities than natural environmental changes, but only 35% of Republicans agree with that.
If people believe humans are not the cause of climate change, they'll be less likely to support a plan aimed at reducing human factors — in this case, cars and trucks — affecting climate change. Again, because the Sierra Club's survey respondents lean more Democratic, the overall support of an action plan to reduce human contributions to climate change makes sense.
Political affiliations aside, 39% of Sierra Club survey respondents think their state is not doing enough to address pollution from cars and trucks, while 27% think their state is doing the right amount, and 71% support their state investing in the regional transportation system.
Climate change is one of the issues on which cities, and states in this case, are collaborating for better solutions. Pollution does not remain contained within one municipality's or state's human-drawn borders, and regional action plans therefore can produce better results. Likewise, vehicles frequently cross borders and a regional transportation plan could provide modernization and comprehensive solutions for a huge group of like-minded people. Plus, partnering on a regional plan provides cities and states with greater resources to tackle problems than they would have had on their own.