Congress

While Congress Dawdles With Stopgap Transportation Bill, Poll Shows 77 Percent Against Raising Gas Tax and 58 Percent Prefer Tolls Over Taxes

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The Hill reports:  

The Senate approved the extension of federal highway funding that was passed by the House on Thursday, accepting a short-term solution leaders in the chamber vehemently opposed. 

The measure, H.R 4281, now goes to President Obama. It extends the current funding for road and transit projects until June 30, the ninth such continuance of the last multiyear highway authorization that was approved by Congress, which expired in 2009. …

The approval of the highway funding stopgap averts an interruption in the federal government's authorization to collect the 18.4 cent-per-gallon gas tax, which had been set to expire Saturday. The money is traditionally used to fund transportation projects. 

While Congress seems unwilling to pass a long-term transportation bill or agree how to pay for it, the December 2011 Reason-Rupe poll found 77 percent of Americans oppose increasing the federal gas tax, while 19 percent favor raising the tax. 

The Reason-Rupe poll shows Americans believe new roads and highways should be paid for by the people driving on them: 58 percent of Americans say new roads and highways should be funded by tolls. Twenty-eight percent say new road capacity should be paid for by tax increases.  

The public thinks the government wastes the gas tax money it already receives. Sixty-five percent say the government spends transportation funding ineffectively, and just 23 percent say the money is spent effectively.

Full Reason-Rupe December 2012 poll results found here, and full question wording here.

Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.