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53% Oppose Gas Tax Hike, Even If Dedicated Only to Interstate Highways

Monday, July 11, 2011

Voters oppose any increase in the federal gas tax even if the money goes only to developing and keeping up Interstate highways.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 33% of Likely U.S. 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. Fifty-three percent (53%) would oppose any such gas tax hike even if the money was dedicated only to the Interstate system. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Thirty-eight percent (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. Forty-five percent (45%) disagree and think the federal government should provide additional funding from the general operating budget. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided.

A federal gas tax of 18.4 cents 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.

Roughly one-in-three voters (32%) incorrectly believe that money in the Highway Trust Fund is only used for building, maintaining and repairing highways. Twenty-five percent (25%) recognize that that is not true. But 43% are not sure.

House Republicans are proposing major cuts in federal transportation spending to keep the trust fund solvent without raising gas taxes. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans oppose raising the gas tax to meet new transportation needs.

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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. See methodology.

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