The Reason organization identifies itself as libertarian, but the group's latest Reason-Rupe poll of 1,200 Americans found more Democrats out there (45 percent) than Republicans (35) or "Pure Independents" (16). Whatever the political leanings of the participants and the methodology used, the interesting result for cleaner transportation advocates is how the people said they'd like to fund infrastructure improvements. In short, Reason found that people would rather pay tolls than more taxes.

A full 77 percent said they oppose raising the gas tax and 58 percent said we should pay for new lanes or highways with tolls instead of higher taxes (which 28 percent said they favor). Fifty-nine percent said they would use a new toll lane or toll road if it saved them "a significant amount of time." These questions followed queries about what people think about their commutes and traffic congestion – something 54 percent think traffic is going to get worse in the coming years. So, Reason's poll seems to say, people think more vehicle hassles are coming, and they'd like to pay extra money to avoid them.

Of course, one can quibble with how the gas tax question was worded. It includes no mention, for example, that the tax hasn't been raised since 1993. It (question 11 in this PDF of the entire poll) asked:

The federal gas tax is currently 18.4 cents a gallon, and nearly all the revenue is used to pay for highways and transit. Some say our roads and transit systems are crumbling and need more funding. Others say the government wastes a lot of the gas tax money it already receives. Do you favor or oppose raising the federal gas tax?

Which some could say is leading the witness. But still, these are good numbers for thought. Do you agree?

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