The gas tax and diesel taxes haven't been increased since 1993.

A new study by AAA has revealed a rather interesting factoid – apparently, there's a large number of Americans that wouldn't mind shelling out a bit more coin for a bit better roads. Yeah, we're pretty surprised too.

According to the transportation group, over two-thirds of Americans think Uncle Sam should beef up his funding for transportation projects, while just over half of the 2,013 randomly surveyed people around the country would support a bump in the gas tax. Perhaps more telling for our elected officials is this: 51 percent of the people surveyed would be more open to voting for a candidate that supported an increase in road funding. Only 19 percent of people would be less likely to vote for a candidate that campaigns on the basis of improving American roads.

"Many of us are willing to pay a little more if it means we will have access to better roads, bridges and transit systems," said AAA's president and CEO, Bob Darbelnet. "It is time for our nation's leaders to stand with those in Congress who support improving our country's transportation system."

Why the urgency on AAA's part? Well, aside from the post-apocalyptic state of American roads, the Highway Trust Fund is set to run dry by August. The Highway Trust relies on the 18.3-cent-per-gallon gas tax and the 24.4-cent-per-gallon diesel tax, neither of which have been increased since 1993, when cars were significantly less efficient.

"Americans are fed up with record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes," – Bob Darbelnet

According to AAA, if the fund were to run dry, road work across the country would be delayed, which would be a particularly troubling notion if next winter is as bad as the previous one. As for how it justifies a hike in the gas tax, AAA claims better roads would will help reduce the $324 average that consumers pay in road-related vehicle repairs.

"Americans are fed up with record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes caused by political inaction," said Darbelnet. "Congress must prevent severe maintenance delays during the height of the summer driving season by preventing a Highway Trust Fund bankruptcy in August."

Take a look below for the press release from AAA, which includes a breakdown of the survey's methodology, as well as a listing and response rate for each of the survey's five questions, but not before you take part in our own unofficial poll on the gas tax.

Show full PR text
Two-Thirds of Americans Believe the Federal Government Should Increase Transportation Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2014) – Two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now on roads, bridges and mass transit systems, according to a new AAA omnibus survey of 2,013 adults. Only five percent of respondents believe the federal government should spend less on transportation. These results come as AAA urges members of Congress to increase the fuel tax, which will address significant transportation safety and congestion issues nationwide.

Survey Highlights
· About half of Americans (52 percent) are willing to pay higher fuel taxes per month on average for better roads, bridges and mass transit systems.

· Nearly three times as many people (51 percent) are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports increased federal spending on transportation than would be less likely (19 percent).

· Approximately two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) agree that taxes on gasoline and diesel consumption are appropriate for transportation funding.
· More people believe that roads, bridges and transit systems have declined in quality over the previous three years (43 percent) than those who believe the quality has improved (32 percent).

AAA Commentary
"Americans are fed up with record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes caused by political inaction," said Bob Darbelnet, AAA President and CEO. "Congress must prevent severe maintenance delays during the height of the summer driving season by preventing a Highway Trust Fund bankruptcy in August."

AAA supports a federal gas tax increase, provided the funds go towards projects that ease congestion and improve safety. The gas tax is the most efficient and fair method available to pay for transportation maintenance and improvements in the near term. An increase in fuel taxes, spent wisely, should help reduce the estimated $324 per year in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs that the average driver currently spends due to poor road conditions.

The Department of Transportation expects the federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money this summer without Congressional action, which would delay transportation maintenance and improvement projects nationwide.

"Many of us are willing to pay a little more if it means we will have access to better roads, bridges and transit systems," continued Darbelnet. "It is time for our nation's leaders to stand with those in Congress who support improving our country's transportation system."

The federal Highway Trust Fund is supported by the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents per gallon tax on diesel. Congress has not raised this tax since 1993. Due to inflation and increased fuel economy, the purchasing power of the current tax has been cut nearly in half.

Survey Questions and Results
1. Do you believe the quality of roads, bridges and mass transit systems you regularly use have significantly improved; improved; neither improved nor declined; declined; or significantly declined in the past three years?
Total
Significantly improved 4%
Improved 28%
Neither improved nor declined 23%
Declined 27%
Significantly declined 16%

2. Do you think the federal government should invest more, less or the same as it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
Total
More 68%
Less 5%
The Same 24%

3. On average, U.S. drivers contribute about eight dollars per month in federal fuel taxes towards the nation's roads, bridges and mass transit systems. How much more, if any, would you be willing to pay on a monthly basis for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
Total
Not willing to pay more 41%
Willing to pay more (net) 52%:
$0.01-$4.99 20%
$5.00-$5.99 11%
$10 or more 21%

4. If your Congressional representative were to support increased federal spending for U.S. roads, bridges and mass transit systems, would you be significantly more likely; somewhat more likely; neither more nor less likely; somewhat less likely; or significantly less likely to vote for them in the next election?
Total
Significantly more likely 17%
Somewhat more likely 34%
Neither more nor less likely 27%
Somewhat less likely 9%
Significantly less likely 10%

5. Federal funding for roads, bridges and mass transit systems comes primarily from taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel consumption. Do you think this is an appropriate way to raise funds for this transportation investment?
Total
Yes 67%
No 29%

Methodology
AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 2,013 adults (1,009 men and 1,004 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted with two waves taking place on May 1-4 and May 8-11, 2014. This study has an average statistical error of 2.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all US adult motorists.

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.


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  • 228 Comments
      WarmAndSCSI
      • 6 Months Ago
      How about a very moderate gas tax increase, and more importantly, a reallocation of public money from pointless programs and bureaucratic inefficiencies to repairing and upgrading our roadways?
      domingorobusto
      • 6 Months Ago
      The problem lies in how the current funds are distributed. They are already siphoned for other purposes, and the "lowest bidding contractor gets the job regardless of track record" crap has to stop. Where I live the job is always given to the lowest contractor, which means the job is always done super crappy, and then the pay twice as much again to have it ripped out and done by the reputable contractor that should have done it in the first place. The funds that are in place are more than sufficient, they just need to be properly managed. I therefore am not in support of an increased tax, just that they ensure that the existing funds are properly managed and actually accomplish the goal they are allocated for in an efficient manner.
        Toumard
        • 6 Months Ago
        @domingorobusto
        Do you not understand that today, that same fund from 20 years ago is only worth 63% of it's original value? It's called inflation and that needs to be accounted for. There is NOT enough money to get the job done. States on average are paying 5 times more to fix roads than is in the fund. Even if the funds are being mismanaged, the only reason they would have to go to such measures is because they don't have sufficient money in the first place, abd would have to cut costs. Do some research before coming up with fabricated scenarios.
      Stinkyboy
      • 6 Months Ago
      Fix the dam roads!
      Cory Stansbury
      • 6 Months Ago
      I have to pay for it either way in either taxes or wrecked suspension every 25k miles. I'd rather spend that Saturday on the couch than doing suspension work. Side benefit of having smooth roads. I was driving through Pittsburgh tonight wondering if I shouldn't trade my S60R in for a ford Raptor or desert buggy with 18" of suspension travel. It's quite absurd just how bad the roads are in PA.
        Cory Stansbury
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Cory Stansbury
        BTW, I do agree with those who question the efficiency of the money spent. That needs addressed as well. However, an increasingly efficient fleet of cars does pose a very obvious funding threat. I'd personally be fine with a formulaic tax structure based on something like miles driven, vehicle weight, tire width, etc.
      MTU 5.0
      • 6 Months Ago
      Here in Michigan we get to pay one of the Top 5 prices for fuel in the country, and we have poor roads.
        RGT881
        • 6 Months Ago
        @MTU 5.0
        Lol yep that's what happens when MDOT is in bed with corrupt contractors. Promise to use a spec material but in actuality use b spec and of course pocket the cost differential.
      denigod1
      • 6 Months Ago
      How do the increasing number of electric vehicles contribute to the road fund?
        edward.stallings
        • 6 Months Ago
        @denigod1
        Electric vehicles being heavier will cause accelerated road deterioration.
          ElectricAvenue
          • 6 Months Ago
          @edward.stallings
          Right. You have facts to back that up? The Nissan Leaf weighs 3300 pounds. I think you'll find that's *below* the weight of an average car. Now, the Model S is a heavy car - but it weighs about the same as a minivan, less than most SUVs. And all of this pales into insignificance compared to the order of magnitude greater weight of trucks. So your point, aside from being wrong, would be completely irrelevant even if it were true.
        montoym
        • 6 Months Ago
        @denigod1
        I'm sure they are affecting it in some amount. However, despite what you'd think from the media reports, EV's are still a very tiny portion of the total automobiles sold each year and on the road. So, their lack of payment of fuel taxes is relatively minor. Not that they shouldn't be on the hook for something, but it's not as though their non-payment is what's keeping the fund from being healthy. Hybrids are a bigger chunk, though this is really also related to all vehicles increasing in fuel economy over time. Just consider, something like a Prius may get nearly 30-50% better mileage than a comparable non-hybrid. So, that's 30-50% less fuel tax being paid by that individual for using the same roads, the same amount, in a vehicle that weighs as much as a conventional vehicle as well (thus contributing just as much wear). You multiply that by the millions of hybrids on the road and the numbers add up quickly, well outweighing any non-payment by pure EV's. A tax increase (at least to keep up with inflation, if not more) will help, but an alternative would be to move to a curb weight/mileage based system so that any vehicle, no matter how fuel efficient is paying for using the roads. Just because you have an EV or a hybrid doesn't mean you contribute any less wear. So, why should you pay less to upkeep those roads? I'm not saying how such a system would be implemented, just offering up a suggestion to make the payment of said taxes more equitable and fair.
      Harroll Morris
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is not a long term solution as more cars are using less gasoline or in some cases no gasoline at all. Roads will need to be made of better materials, and built to last. Currently our roads are made by corporations that build them as poorly as they can get away with so that our government has to pay them again in too short of a time to repair them. We will probably need to work on finding materials that repair themselves for the future.
      Raza Amir Raja
      • 6 Months Ago
      Ya'll should come to Canada...you'd be thankful of the roads you have. Montreal is like a minefield in some areas
      Ken
      • 6 Months Ago
      Yes... IF IT IS ACTUALLY USED FOR ROADS.
      Aaron
      • 6 Months Ago
      As an EV driver, I completely support all gas tax increases. :)
        Aaron
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        Wow. A lot of butt-hurt gas and diesel vehicle drivers out there. ;)
      Required Reading
      • 6 Months Ago
      No more taxes until the government learns we don't have a taxation problem but we have an overspending problem. Until that time the government will just keep taking and taking and mis-spending and asking for more.
        Todd
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Required Reading
        The Federal transportation Trust fund is going broke because it's revenue stream of user fees (Fuel Taxes) isn't keeping pace with inflation because it is based on gallons used, and we are using less. The tax was set 20 years ago and everything is a lot more expensive now. Congress has been putting 30 BILLION per year on the national credit card to keep the pathetic amount of bridge and road repairs going. We don't have an overspending problem on roads. User fees don't keep pace with the high cost of our infrastructure. Raise the tax, stop deficit spending, and invest in infrastructure. I don't like taxes, but it beats walking and borrowing.
          superlightv12
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Todd
          I'm sure if you actually studied the labor force and it's fat benefits programs in government, you would find a huge amount of waste and inefficiency. Nobody will touch it because the system is full of in-bred that pull in friends and family that are not qualified to even do the job. If government went through an actual lean program, they could cut labor costs in half. That will never happen.
        Toumard
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Required Reading
        That won't help at all. How is the Gov supposed to do a good hop repairing roads if they don't even have enought money to do it in the frist place? There has been about 35% inflation since 1993 so just by that they only get 63% of what it used to be. Then our cars are much more fuel efficient and Americans are just driving less. The peak driving was in 2004 and has been going down almost to levels pre-1990s. Just face it, they need more money to do what you want.
        Todd
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Required Reading
        I don't pretend that their isn't waste and nepotism in gov't.. I just don't agree that watching roads and bridges go to hell, Or adding to the deficit is resonable alternative to raising user Fees and spending them where they are sorely needed. You could eliminate all federal discretionary spending except defense And we are still in deficit spending. You can't cut your way out of this problem Alone.
      churchmotor
      • 6 Months Ago
      NO to national gas tax increases. Obama will raid the money and send it to the Taliban. Let the States continue to raise or maintain their tax rates and do the upkeep on their roads. Michigan can keep raising the taxes to pay all the Mafia "hit" money on top of the price to fix roads.
        cpmanx
        • 6 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        We are trying to have a real discussion here. If that's all you have to offer, I would respectfully request you not to comment at all.
        Johnny Trailerpark
        • 6 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        You're a $hithead.
        Spec
        • 6 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        Send it to the Taliban? really? Why not to his Muslim friends in his homeland of Kenya? Wingnuts are always funny.
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