Traffic is a growing concern in the Sacramento region, yet nearly seven-out-of-10 people still choose to drive alone.
Those are a couple of the main takeaways from a survey released last month by Valley Vision, a group consisting of business and government stakeholders that focuses on livability issues in the region.
Respondents across the board said they feel transportation is of critical importance to business and job growth in the region, and that fixing local roads is their No. 1 concern.
"Not surprisingly, they want to fill those potholes and they want to make sure that the local roads and highways are smooth and safe and capable of getting them to and from work, helping them get to their doctors appointments, or getting their kids to school," said Valley Vision’s CEO Bill Mueller.
Despite the high rate of solo drivers, more than half of the survey’s respondents say are open to other forms of transportation. They also say they carpool on occasion. In addition, about a third bike and nearly half walk — at least sometimes.
As far as public transit is concerned, nearly 20 percent say they use it. But distance, time, and safety are the top three reasons why they don’t.
Sacramento Regional Transit spokesperson Wendy Williams says RT is developing a system overhaul to address the distance and time issues. When it comes to safety concerns, she says it's a matter of perception.
"We are super proud of the type of security that we provide on our light rail trains,” Williams said. “It is super safe, I can't stress that enough."
Mueller says more than a dozen transit agencies and numerous local governments will work with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments on decide how to spend $35 billion in state, local, and federal transportation dollars over the next two decades.
"These poll results are helping inform that action," Mueller said.
Prior to the passage of the controversial Senate Bill 1, which raised the state’s gas tax and vehicle fees and will face a voter recall in November, the gas-tax rate had not changed since 1994. “Investments fell behind as the tax did not keep up with inflation, or adjust to account for greater use of California’s roadways or improved vehicle fuel efficiency,” the report states. “This and other factors have resulted in a $2 billion funding gap.”
Valley Vision compiled the opinions of nearly 800 residents from six Sacramento-area counties. They're split evenly male/female, racially and politically representative, and from a wide range of age groups.