Surprise: There’s Support for Raising the Gas Tax

It’s the proverbial third rail of politics: raising the gas tax.

But that may be changing. Given punishing commutes and congestion, attitudes towards an increase in the gas tax and other charges on motorists are softening, according to a survey study done by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. The nationally conducted survey included 2,723 respondents.

“Support for raising the gas tax is largely dependent on how the revenue will be spent,” says Dr. Asha Weinstein Agrawal, one of the study’s authors and Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s National Transportation Finance Center. “Seventy-five percent of respondents supported a 10 cent increase in the gas tax if the revenue raised is dedicated to maintenance projects, but only 40 percent support the same increase if the money is used more generally to maintain and improve the transportation system.”