Friday, January 24, 2014

What do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Trasportation?

A long term study at the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University contains a number of interesting findings:
  • A majority of Americans would support higher taxes for transportation—under certain conditions. For example, a gas tax increase of 10¢ per gallon to improve road maintenance was supported by 67% of respondents, whereas support levels dropped to just 23% if the revenues were to be used more generally to maintain and improve the transportation system.
In other words, people are tired of potholed and rutted pavements.  Fix it and stop the "system" talk which in most cases are more union bureaucracies or projects custom-set for special interests and favors.
  • With respect to public transit, the survey results show that most people want good public transit service in their state. In addition, two-thirds of respondents support spending gas tax revenues on transit. However, questions exploring different methods to raise new revenues found relatively low levels of support for raising gas tax or transit fare rates.
See the point below. Most people want "good transit" because they think it costs a couple bucks per trip whereas the reality is much different and nationally the cost per trip on transit is over $10. How many people in San Francisco know that large portion of BART is over 30 years old and its refurbishment requires over $3 Billion?
  • Not all respondents were well informed about how transit is funded, with only about half knowing that fares do not cover the full cost of transit.
I think that "about half" is a huge underestimation.  Only a small fraction of Honolulu's population knows that the average trip revenue on TheBus is about $1.50 but the actual average cost per trip is over $6.00.