By Kyle Oppenhuizen

A large majority of voters in four major U.S. cities believe that it is important to invest in public transportation, according to a survey funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and conducted by Global Strategy Group.


The survey conducted public opinion surveys in Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Pittsburgh. In each city, 85 percent or more of respondents agreed that it was important to invest in public transportation in order to ensure that communities grow and thrive.


The survey echoes the sentiments of a 2011 survey done by the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), in which 88 percent of respondents said wanted the Des Moines region to invest more in public transit. About half of the 1,266 people who took the DART survey answered that question, a spokesperson said.


In the Rockefeller survey, a majority of people in each of the four cities supported bringing bus rapid transit (BRT) to the cities. BRT is designed to function like a train system using buses, with more frequent service than a normal route.


More than six in 10 voters in each of the four cities surveyed said they would take BRT instead of driving or taking other forms of public transit if it made their commute faster, and a majority said they would pay an additional 10 cents a day for better and more reliable public transit options that reduce their commute time.


DART has proposed a BRT line to loop between downtown and University Avenue in Des Moines. The bus system last year was unable to secure a proposed $2 million grant for the line that would likely have leveraged a $20 million grant through the Federal Transportation Administration.  


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