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MTI: Americans Support Paying for Transportation

Most Americans will pay increased taxes if officials apply the revenue to transportation improvements, according to a recent Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) national survey.

The report, “What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Public Transit, Highways, and Local Streets and Roads? Results from Year Seven of a National Survey,” says that support further depends on how the tax is structured and described. This year’s results show that support for raising transportation taxes has increased for the past six years. Findings specific to public transit include the following:

* A sizable majority of respondents—82 percent—said expanding and improving public transit services in their states should be a high or medium government priority.

* About one-half said they knew fares don’t cover the cost of transit and 29 percent knew that the federal government has a role in funding public transit.

* Two-thirds supported spending current gas tax revenues on public transit and 41 percent supported increasing gas taxes to improve transit. More than half of respondents support a federal gas tax increase if the revenue is dedicated to improving maintenance, safety or the environment.

The study was conducted by Asha Weinstein Agrawal, director of the MTI National Transportation Finance Center and associate professor at San José State University, home of MTI, and Hilary Nixon, also an associate professor at the university. Find the report here.
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