Polling the Gas Tax

For the fourth year in a row, the Mineta Transportation Institute has polled the public on ways to fund transportation infrastructure — with some interesting findings.

Support for a 10-cent gas tax hike is 23 percent, the same it was in 2010. But if that new revenue is dedicated to something in particular — like reducing global warming or maintaining roads — support soars. The extra dime draws support from 50 percent when it goes to climate protection and 67 percent when it’s devoted to road maintenance. A national 0.5 percent sales tax drew 51 percent in favor and support doubled for a VMT fee if higher-polluting cars paid more (19 percent to 39 percent).

On the transit side, 64 percent are in favor of spending current gas tax dollars on rails and buses, but a majority oppose increasing the tax for transit. MT’s favorite stat from the exhaustive report: On average, only 46 percent knew that the feds pay for transit projects. The abstract has a good overview and includes links to download the research brief and [the report itself].