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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