RICHMOND - The results are in. Nearly half of voters along the corridor grade Interstate 81 as a D or an F.
Nearly nine in 10 voters from the I-81 corridor support a $2 billion investment in the highway for needed improvements a new poll finds. More than two-thirds, or 69 percent, of respondents say those improvements should be approved in 2019.
The Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA), in conjunction with researchers at the nationally recognized public opinion and research firm, Public Opinion Strategies, today released key findings from a survey of 500 registered voters living along the I-81 corridor in Virginia.
Nearly half of those interviewed gave the highway a grade of a D or F while a majority of respondents said they would support improvements to I-81 even if it meant they had to pay higher taxes.
“The people have spoken and they want I-81 fixed now,” said Jeff Southard, executive vice president, VTCA. “Traffic on I-81 exceeds the capacity for which it was built. When more than half of your respondents say they don’t feel safe on the highway and a strong majority, both democrat and republican, supports a fix, it’s clear that action is needed from our elected leaders.”
The study also found that three-quarters or 75 percent of voters interviewed say they would be more likely to back a state legislator who supports a funding solution. In late November, VTCA along with the American Road & Transportation Builders Association released a report showing how a $2 billion investment in transportation improvements for I-81 would stimulate $4.3 billion in business activity in the cities, counties and rural areas immediately surrounding the interstate corridor.
The report card is in: I‐81 Corridor voters give Interstate 81 low marks. Nearly half – 45% –
grade I‐81 as a D or an F.
Asked to grade Interstate 81, voters gave it the following marks:
• 6% A; 14% B; 34% C; 27% D; and 18% F.
• Based on these grades, I‐81 earns an underwhelming 1.6 GPA – a D+ average.
2. A majority of voters do not feel safe when traveling on I‐81. Fully 56% of voters say they do not feel safe when traveling on I‐81, while 43% say they do feel safe:
• Fully 58% of daily users of I‐81 do not feel safe, nor do 55% of weekly users.
• Older voters, in particular, do not feel safe: only 37% of voters age 55‐64 feel safe, while
63% do not. Similarly, 35% of seniors feel safe, while 62% do not.