The trade association representing Pennsylvania's highway construction industry said it welcomes the results of a Franklin & Marshall poll regarding the public's attitudes toward the transportation funding issue.
The poll, conducted by F&M's Center for Opinion Research at the Floyd Institute of Public Policy, found that 54% of the state's voters believe that passing a comprehensive transportation plan to fix the state's roads and bridges is either the most important or one of the most important issues facing policymakers this fall. The poll was directed by Dr. G. Terry Madonna.
None of the other issues presented—a Marcellus Shale tax, school vouchers, changing the electoral vote distribution and privatizing state liquor stores—received majority support from respondents.
"This tracks with the research we've been doing over the last several years," said Robert Latham, executive vice president for Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC). "Pennsylvania residents want a safer, less congested transportation system, and they're willing to make a modest investment in order to have it.
"Moreover, once people consider that a comprehensive transportation funding plan will create tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, the support for such a plan becomes even stronger."
Latham noted that APC supports the recommendations of Gov. Tom Corbett's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission. The recommendations include modest increases in user fees and removal of the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax, at a cost to a typical motorist of only 70 cents per week in the first year to $2.50 per week in the fifth year.
State Sen. Jake Corman, of Centre County, is introducing legislation that reflects the commission's recommendations, and the General Assembly is expected to take the issue up in the coming weeks.
"The opportunity to have a safer, less congested transportation system while creating tens of thousands of jobs, at a cost of less than a gallon of gas per week, is attractive to most Pennsylvanians," Latham said. "While other issues are important, it's not surprising to us that transportation funding is at the top of the list in the minds of the public."