91% of San Antonio commuters drive to work every day in our own cars, and we think transportation policy should be created with the convenience of cars top of mind, and not focus on mass transit, bicyclists, carpoolers, or pedestrians, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
This according to a comprehensive new survey by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.
When asked 'on a scale of one to ten, who do you believe should have the most influence over transportation policy in Texas,' San Antonio motorists overwhelmingly say 'auto driver.' The only other entities which score higher than a'5' on a ten point scale are TxDOT and local governments.
Very few San Antonians think bicyclists, transit riders, pedestrians, or 'environmental groups' have any role in shaping transportation policy.
"These auto drivers see themselves as the primary users of the system, not as one of many users," researcher Chris Simick told Newsradio 1200 WOAI.
Despite the fact that 85% of San Antonio motorists say that the 'regularly experience congestion' on area highways, few have done anything to deal with it. Only 26% say they have purchased a more fuel efficient vehicle, three quarters say they have never carpooled, and about the same amount say they have never considered changing their work hours to deal with congestion.
But the most telling part of the survey involves San Antonio motorists' almost complete rejection of alternatives to try to deal with highway congestion. When asked what should be done to 'answer Texas' transportation challenges,' the only two that get universal support are 'timing traffic signals more effectively' and 'adding more lanes' to highways.
By far the least popular of more than a dozen options to dealing with highway congestion is building toll roads.
"We see that tolling relative to all the other options that were provided, have a low level of support," Simick said.
Local motorists are also not interested in 'encouraging the use of non personal auto modes of transportation' and other social engineering schemes like 'encouraging high density developments around public transportation stations.'
And we are also very cynical when it comes to the often stated need to come up with more money for transportation. Many San Antonians think they pay plenty to build up the road network, but greedy politicians 'divert' that money to other pet projects.
When asked what should be done to provide more money to roads, the only idea which is supported by local drivers is 'dedicating state sales taxes on vehicles to transportation.'
Simick points out that the state sales tax on vehicles is already being collected, and the only thing Texans want to do is shift that tax to a new source. Nobody wants to pay more for better roads.
"While they agree there is a need to increase transportation funding, there is a reluctance to pay any more than what they are already paying," he said.
In fact, increasing the gas tax, increasing vehicle registration fees, linking the gas tax to the inflation rate, and switching to a 'per mile' system of funding roads all get low marks on the study.
When asked 'which of these expectations of any new transportation funding plan do you support, by far the most popular was 'including a guarantee that 100% of all revenues are spent on transportation projects.'