Posted in: Infrastructure,
by Gregg Laskoski on Apr 27, 2013 06:00 AM
It's unscientific and based only on a hunch but I'd bet that if you asked most Americans whether or not their roads and highways need improvements and long-neglected bridges needed repair an overwhelming majority would say: "Of course. It's long overdue."
If it does, why then would a solid majority (66 percent) of Americans say they'd vote against a new gas tax designed to pay for infrastructure repairs and new mass transit? Is someone we haven't met going to do provide that work for free?
The Gallup study said 66 percent of Americans would reject a 20-cent per gallon state tax that was dedicated to paying for road and bridge repairs. By contrast, just three in 10 say they would support such a plan.
If gasoline taxes or mileage taxes, or anything else you want to call it do not pony up the dollars for badly needed transportation repairs and projects, where would you suggest the money come from?
TheHill.com reports that according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states have recently approved or are considering increased tax hikes to fund infrastructure improvements and mass-transit projects. Last month, Maryland lawmakers voted to increase the state's gas tax for the first time in 20 years.
The tax is particularly unpopular in the Midwest and South — only a quarter of the residents of those areas support the idea — while 32 percent of those living in the Eastern United States and 37 percent of those living in the West say they would back the measure.
To their credit, Gallup tries to makes sense of it. "It is not clear whether Americans' lack of support for this proposal stems from the type, amount, or purpose of the tax," said Gallup's Alyssa Brown in a statement. "Americans may be opposed to increasing the price of gas — a necessary commodity for many individuals — during a fragile economy, regardless of how the resulting funds are used."
Maybe it's just deep distrust of politicians and any measures that might give them access to more taxpayer money. Is that it? Are Americans saying 'enough is enough'?