Despite record-high gasoline prices across the U.S., a September nationwide survey by Republican and Democratic pollsters Ed Goeas and Celinda Lake found 69% of likely voters would willingly pay nine cents extra per day to help fund repairs to outdated roads and bridges and improve highway safety.
"The strong support of voters stretches across partisan, regional and demographic lines," Goeas and Lake said.
Nine cents per day is the amount of extra gas tax revenue the average motorist would have to pay to finance the six-year, $375 billion federal highway and mass transit program reauthorization bill that has been proposed by the bipartisan leadership of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Echoing a finding in several other polls over the past year, Goeas and Lake found that six in 10 voters (61%) agree the U.S. is facing a "transportation capacity crisis."
When told the U.S. DOT reports that a third of the nation's bridges and more than half of the roads need repair and that poor road conditions or outdated alignments are a factor in nearly 15,000 traffic deaths each year, 57% of voters say they would support an up to five cents per gallon increase in the federal gas tax if the money raised was invested in highway and public transit improvements.
"There is solid majority support among both Republicans (56% support, higher among older Republicans), and Democrats (59%, especially moderate to liberal and older Democrats)," according to Goeas and Lake. Fifty-one percent of Independents would support a gas tax increase, they say. The pollsters also found that support climbs to 62% among moderate and liberal voters and even holds at 52% among conservatives.
If their member of Congress voted in favor of such a gas tax proposal, 18% of voters say they would be more likely to vote for them in the 2004 election, while 32% would be less likely. Forty-seven percent said it would make no difference in their vote.