Reason-Rupe Poll Indicates Americans Prefer Tolls to Taxes for Highway Repairs

The latest Reason-Rupe poll of 1,000 adults finds 73 percent of Americans believe the government spends existing transportation funding inefficiently. Just 21 percent of Americans think government spends transportation money efficiently. Nevertheless, 46 percent of Americans think the federal government needs to spend more money on transportation infrastructure than it does today, 30 percent think the government needs to spend about the same amount as now, and 21 percent believe the federal government should spend less on transportation.

Reason-Rupe finds 85 percent of Americans oppose raising the federal gas tax. Mileage-based user fees are often discussed as the future of transportation funding, however 72 percent of Americans tell Reason-Rupe they oppose eliminating the gas tax and replacing it with a fee based on the number of miles driven. Only 23 percent favor replacing the gas tax with a mileage fee.

When asked about a specific funding challenge — paying for needed repairs and the expansion of existing Interstate highways, 58 percent of Americans say they’d rather pay for those projects with tolls, while 32 percent would prefer to pay for them by raising the fuel tax.

When asked to choose their top priority for transportation spending, a majority of Americans chose highways and streets but a large number ranked transit first: 55 percent want to prioritize highways and streets, 38 percent believe transit systems should come first, and 5 percent put bicycle and walking trails atop the list.

With some US airports now using private airport security screeners instead of TSA screeners, 46 percent of Americans think the private screeners will be about the same as TSA screeners, 31 percent think private screeners will be more cost-effective than the TSA, and 18 percent feel private screeners will be less cost-effective than TSA.

The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll conducted live interviews with 1,000 adults on cell phones (500) and landlines (500) August 6-10, 2014. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percent and it was executed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

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