Survey says: Yes! American drivers want fewer potholes, and less congestion, even if it means less money in their wallets.
For 70% of Americans, improved infrastructure is worth possible tax and toll increases, according to a recent poll conducted by Missouri-based engineering firm HNTB Corporation, part of their latest America THINKS national public opinion survey sent out several times per year.
The online survey, conducted from July 14-16, polled a random nationwide sample of 1,027 Americans aged 18 and older. The results of the survey reflect the fact that America’s infrastructure is deteriorating and is now ranked 12th worldwide.
The majority of respondents stated that they would pay more to improve American roads through a combination of taxes and tolls. Another 14% agreed, but only if there would be a lawful guarantee that the funds could only be put toward new or improved infrastructure.
“People are willing to pay higher taxes and tolls if they knew that the money was going to pay for transportation,” said Kevin Hoeflich, chairman of toll services at HNTB. “They’ve seen . . . funding get diverted to other areas and not where they expected.”
Currently, the United States is behind on infrastructure spending.
“The nation is set to fall $1.44 trillion short of what it needs to spend on infrastructure through the next decade,” according to an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) statement.
A majority of the surveyed population felt that new partnerships, congestion relief efforts, and increased toll revenues were the most important issues when talking U.S. infrastructure.
For example, 73% of respondents support public-private partnerships. This would involve both government agencies as well as private contractors working together to fund and complete a task.
Furthermore, 57% of respondents are willing to pay an average of $1.70 to use a reserved express or price-managed lane. More express lanes could shave 15-30 minutes off a daily commute, decrease congestion, and give drivers a better and more predictable driving experience.
Finally, of the surveyed population, 80% supported increases in toll prices as well as new tolls on highways and roads nationwide. Respondents who agreed with this toll increase said the most important issues were reducing congestion, improving road safety, and adding vehicle and transit capacity.
For now, the polled population who wants better and more efficient roads will wait until both the White House and Congress can develop a comprehensive infrastructure plan.