Big public preference for tolls over gas tax hikes - Reason-Rupe poll
By Peter Samuel
58% prefer tolls to pay for new new lanes or highways compared to 28% for increased gas tax, according to a recent Reason-Rupe (R-R) poll of 1,200 people. There's 77% opposition to raising the federal gas tax and only 19% support. 65% of people think federal gas tax money is spent ineffectively to 23% who think it is well spent.
A clear majority according to the R-R poll support tolls - 59% - when they save drivers a "significant" amount of time. There's 57% support for converting HOV lanes to HOT lanes.
Minority favors dynamic pricing
There's less than majority support however for variable pricing - 39% support tolls "that rise and fall with traffic levels" to 50% who oppose.
Highways not transit spending
A clear majority (62%) favor prioritizing funds for highways and roads compared to 30% who favor transit priority.
There's only minority support (35%) for state and federal funding of high speed rail while 55% support leaving high speed rail to the private sector to build where it thinks riders will pay sufficient to fund the investments.
PPPs favored over government
The split is similar on private investment via so-called public private partnerships for infrastructure as compared to public funding. 55% support PPPs, 35% government funding and operation.
This Reason-Rupe poll, conducted December 3-13, 2011, surveyed a random, national sample of 1,200 adults by telephone (777 on landlines, 423 on mobile phones). The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll was conducted for Reason Foundation by NSON Opinion Strategy.
The poll seems to us to have gotten a reasonably unbiased sample because it shows 45% Democrat or Democrat-leaning to 35% Republican or leaning, 16% independent. There's a pretty even split between poll respondents who want less government and those who want more. And the same even split between those saying a strong government is needed to handle today's complex economic problems as opposed to those who think they'll be better handled by the free market.
The Reason-Rupe findings of strong opposition to gas tax financing are consistent with other recent polling.