Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two Surveys, One Conclusion

Two new surveys are hitting the streets this month, both of which purport to read the tea leaves left in the wake of November's election results. While the two sources are very dissimilar, the results are surprisingly alike.

The first, released December 7th, is a "stakeholder" survey done for Sound Transit by Cocker Fennessy. The survey consisted of 31 executive interviews with business, community and transportation leaders, and an online instrument involving 2,412 individuals.

In brief, the executive surveys, which included RAMP Co-Chairs, makes the following observations about why Roads & Transit failed and what any new proposal needs to be successful:

1. Cost and complexity were key reasons for the defeat;
2. Regional conversation is needed about leadership;
3. Lack of trust and frustration with government;
4. Never saw personal benefits of Roads & Transit;
5. Struggling to ID “right” tax formula;
6. Lack of consensus re: content, timing and projects for next measure;
7. Regional solutions preferred;
8. Relationship and coalition-building needed

Tomorrow, the Washington Policy Center (WPC) will release a poll conducted by Moore Information. Statewide and, in particular, across the Puget Sound region, the public "cares about traffic congestion and is not happy with the government’s performance of addressing it," according to WPC.

According to this survey, the major reason Proposition 1 lost in last month's election was concern about the possibility of higher taxes; yet, nearly half of respondents who voted against Proposition 1 say they would have considered voting for the measure if they had been convinced it would reduce congestion.

Both of these latest glimpses into the collective mind of the electorate match with earlier surveys and consensus developed by RAMP participants. Traffic congestion remains a front burner issue but the public has at least a healthy distriust for government attempts to address it--particularly large, poorly-focused attempts.