October 20, 2014 - A recent survey conducted by AAA found that that just over two-thirds (68%) of Americans believe that the federal government should be spending more on roads, bridges, and mass transit systems. Only five percent of those surveyed thought that the federal government should spend less, while the remainder (24%) thought that funding should remain the same.
Of course to spend more, you have to get more and more than half of those surveyed (52%) are prepared to pay more at the pump to fund those needed improvements. How much? Of those 52%, most would be willing to pay an additional $10 or more per month for better transportation infrastructure. Currently, U.S. drivers pay about $8 per month, on average, in federal gas taxes.
Congress hasn’t raised the federal gas tax in more than 20 years; the last increase came in 1993. One of the big reasons is that many politicians fear they will be voted out of office if they support an increase in taxes for better transportation. But maybe, just maybe, things have begun to change. According to the AAA survey, more than half of respondents (51%) would be “significantly or somewhat” more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports increased federal spending on transportation. Another 27% said that it wouldn’t change their mind at the voting booth, with only 19% saying that they would be “somewhat or significantly” less likely to vote for them in the next election.
So, what does this mean? I am not really sure. I hope similar polls support the AAA poll and that legislators get to the point where they believe that they will not lose their jobs to make critical improvements in our infrastructure. They all believe it is important. They all make a big deal about the money they get for important projects back home. Now, they all need to get together and secure the needed dollars so they can fix things not just in the short term – but for the long term as well.
Maybe public opinion has begun to change. What do you think?
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