Rasmussen survey finds 53% of likely US voters oppose increase in gasoline tax, even if dedicated only to interstate highways
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 33% of likely US Voters would favor a modest increase in the gas tax even if they knew the revenue would be used only to pay for building, maintaining and repairing the Interstate Highway System. 53% would oppose any such gas tax hike even if the money was dedicated only to the Interstate system. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.
38% of voters believe the cost of building, maintaining and repairing the Interstate Highway System should be funded entirely from gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund. 45% disagree and think the federal government should provide additional funding from the general operating budget. 17% are undecided.
A federal gas tax of $0.184 per gallon is the chief source of money for the Highway Trust Fund. That fund in turn pays a sizable of portion, but not all, of the costs related to the Interstate Highway System. Some of the money in the fund also goes to mass transit.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has suggested a mileage tax for drivers as a way to pay for the Obama administration’s plans to spend $556 billion over six years on transportation projects. But Americans nationwide remain firmly opposed to a tax based on the number of miles they drive, according to Rasmussen findings.
32% incorrectly believe that money in the Highway Trust Fund is only used for building, maintaining and repairing highways. 25% recognize that is not true; 43% are not sure.
House Republicans are proposing major cuts in federal transportation spending to keep the trust fund solvent without raising gas taxes. 74% of Americans oppose raising the gas tax to meet new transportation needs.
Just over two months ago when gas prices were climbing, 44% of Americans felt the government should eliminate the federal gasoline tax completely until prices came down. 35% disagreed and said the government should not eliminate the tax; 21% weren’t sure.
73% of voters think gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund should be used only for building, maintaining and repairing highways. 17% oppose limiting this revenue in that fashion.
52% believe it is appropriate to use some of the money in the Highway Trust Fund for mass transit systems such as trains, subways and buses as is currently the case. 38% do not think it is appropriate to use the trust fund money in this way.
Female voters are more supportive than male voters of spending on mass transit. Voters under 40 tend to agree with mass transit spending more than their elders do.
70% of Democrats and 53% of voters not affiliated with either major party think it’s appropriate to use some of the trust fund money to help pay for mass transit projects. 56% of Republicans disagree.
A plurality (49%) of GOP voters believe the cost of the Interstate Highway System should be met entirely by gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund. Most Democrats (54%) think instead that the federal government should provide additional funding for the Interstate system from the general operating budget. Unaffiliated voters are evenly divided.
Even if they knew that federal gas taxes were used only to pay for the Interstate Highway System, the majority of Republicans (64%) and Democrats (51%) would oppose even a modest increase in the gas tax. Unaffiliateds are again almost evenly divided.
The Political Class believes much more strongly than Mainstream voters that some Highway Trust fund money should be spend on mass transit projects. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Political Class voters think the federal government should provide additional money for the Interstate highways from the general operating budget, a view shared by only 41% of those in the Mainstream.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 8-9, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.