Reason/Rupe poll: Americans want more tolls, not higher taxes

As a follow-up to Ed’s earlier post, which highlighted the results of a new Rasmussen poll that showed most Americans want the government to reduce spending, I present these interesting findings from a Reason-Rupe poll. Americans resist the idea that the government should raise taxes to finance infrastructure, preferring instead to pay for transportation costs directly through tolls. According to the poll, 58 percent think new tolls instead of new taxes should fund new roads and highways — while just 28 percent prefer tax increases to tolls.

The Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso calls attention to more notable statistics:

– 77 percent of Americans oppose increasing the federal gas tax, 19 percent favor raising it;
– 59 percent of Americans say they would pay to use a toll road if it saved them “significant” time;
– 57 percent support converting HOV lanes into HOT lanes;
– 50 percent oppose, and 39 percent support, variably-priced tolls;
– 33 percent say transit should get a slice of the funding pie that exceeds its ridership share and 33 percent say it should get funding equal to its ridership share

And, as Freddoso points out, the sample hardly skewed conservative, as the participants gave the president a net favorable rating.

These policy-oriented polls are encouraging, demonstrating, as they do, that Americans expect their elected representatives to serve as good stewards of taxpayer dollars. They also serve as a timely reminder to the GOP candidates to sell the idea that Barack Obama has not been a responsible steward. No matter what happens with the economy between now and November 2012, that fact won’t change. He and the Senate Democrats would rather us pay more than budget responsibly.