In fact, Americans will shell out cash for a very concrete reward. More than half (58 percent) of Americans would pay more each month in order to reduce the time they spend in traffic by 20 percent. These citizens would spend an average of $13 per month – more than $150 a year – to make it happen.
However, Americans are split on the issue of gas tax increases that traditionally support federal highway and transit programs. Although a slight majority (57 percent) agree that the gas tax should rise and fall along with the rate of inflation, close to two in three (64 percent) Americans would not support a 10-cents-per-gallon bump in gas tax. The Obama administration and Congressional leaders have repeatedly said they cannot support a gas tax increase during a down economy.
Yarossi emphasized there will not be a one-size fits all answer. "We need to move beyond the gas tax and expand other forms of funding, including tolling, public-private partnerships, a National Infrastructure Bank and programs that encourage private investment, such as TIFIA and revival of the Build America Bonds program."
He added that any long-term vision must restore U.S. transportation infrastructure to its full potential, creating a plan that is comprehensive, moves traffic efficiently and makes citizens more mobile by giving them more choices.
"Investing in a modern, comprehensive system means shifting our thinking and looking at multiple modes of transportation supported by multiple modes of funding," Yarossi said. "Traditionally roads, rails and ports have been made to compete against each other. That’s got to change."
HNTB's America THINKS survey polled a random nationwide sample of 1,124 Americans Feb. 18-23, 2011. It was conducted by Kelton Research, which used an e-mail invitation and online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percent.
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