The federal gasoline tax is not enough to finance the nation's highway system, so new funding for transportation projects is needed, according to a survey of 1,000 Americans from Kansas City, Mo.-based HNTB Holdings. The "America THINKS" online survey by Kelton Research also found that 67 percent of respondents were willing to pay more in tolls, taxes or fares to fund transportation improvements in their area, such as highway capacity expansions and high-speed rail.
While 57 percent of respondents said they thought the gas tax — which has been set at the federal level at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993 — was not sufficient to maintain the federal Highway Trust Fund, only 36 percent of respondents favored raising the gas tax. Most preferred paying higher or more tolls (52 percent) or public transportation fees (45 percent).
The Highway Trust Fund will be out of money by Oct. 1, even with an emergency infusion of $7 billion earlier this month, according to HNTB. Inflation, a decrease in driving and the increased fuel economy of vehicles have reduced the gas tax'spower.
"While the stimulus plan was a start, America needs a long-term vision of its transportation future," said HNTB Holdings President Paul Yarossid in a statement. "Delays only increase costs and the deterioration of our infrastructure. By addressing the problem through workable funding solutions, we will be able generate jobs as well as improve the stability of our mobility and our economy."
View "America THINKS" online survey.