A large majority of Americans think spending on transportation infrastructure is important, according to a recent national poll.
It’s interesting to note, however, that the majority also opposes paying more of their own money to improve or modernize our transportation systems.
- 80 percent believe that improving and modernizing transportation systems will boost local economies and create jobs.
- Seventy-one percent oppose an increase in the gas tax.
- Sixty-four percent oppose new tolls on existing roads and bridges.
- Fifty-eight percent oppose paying a fee based on the number of miles they drive.
I can certainly sympathize with these respondents, who are feeling the pinch of a tight economy and reacting accordingly. I know gas prices at $4.00 inspire a lot of anxiety in plenty of people, myself included.
However, my recent trip to the Transportation Development Association conference in Madison highlighted the issue of the federal gas tax that helps to build, repair and maintain a first-rate nationwide transportation infrastructure.
The gas tax is currently a flat rate of 18.4 cents per gallon – the same as it’s been since 1993. Unfortunately, prices of asphalt and other road-building materials haven’t held so steady, so the budget for keeping roads safe and efficient is approaching a breaking point.
TDA has pointed out that an increase in the federal gas tax by 10 cents per gallon would cost the average family $9 more a month. Are faster, safer commutes and trips worth that much to you?
Or perhaps the better question is, for critical transportation infrastructure–where would you prefer the money come from?