A majority of Nevada voters favor raising the fuel tax to pay for better roads, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A new Impact Nevada poll of likely voters found that 42.2% would prefer to halt road construction altogether rather than raise the gas tax. However, 41.8% were in favor of raising the tax just enough to improve local roads, and another 12.7% said they would raise it enough to expand interstate highways and local roads.
The poll, commissioned by the Review-Journal, 8NewsNow and Vegas PBS surveyed 600 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
If legislators follow the Nevada numbers, it would be the first time state and federal fuel taxes were increased since 1993.
The poll separated respondents into several brackets, including income, political party affiliation and ethnicity, and found stark differences in the responses.
Those who would rather stop construction tended to be Republican. And more women than men - 47% to 37% - say they would prefer construction stop rather than raise taxes.
Susan Martinovich, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, said the results were surprising.
"Previous polls showed people get frustrated with congestion and frustrated with backups," she said. "It seems like an inconsistency. This reverses what has been expressed."
She suspected some of the responses could have been caused by frustrations over the number of construction projects currently underway.
Although Martinovich said the DOT has no plans to raise the fuel tax, identifying a new source of revenue is becoming more important.
When Nevada drivers hit the pump, they typically pay about 18 cents per gallon in federal taxes, 18 cents in state taxes, 6 cents in county taxes plus up to 9 cents more in an optional tax implemented by the county.