What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Transportation? Results from Year Ten of a National Survey

What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Transportation? Results from Year Ten of a National Survey

Abstract: 

This report summarizes the results from the tenth year of a national public opinion survey asking U.S. adults questions related to their views on federal transportation taxes. A nationally representative sample of 2,723 respondents completed the online survey.

The questions test public opinions about both raising the federal gas tax rate and replacing the federal gas tax with a new mileage fee. In addition to asking directly about support for these tax options, the survey collected data on respondents’ views on the quality of their local transportation system, their priorities for federal transportation spending, their knowledge of how much they pay in federal gas taxes, their views on privacy and equity matters related to mileage fees, travel behavior, and standard sociodemographic variables. This large set of variables is used to identify personal characteristics and opinions correlated with support for the tax options.

Key findings include: large majorities would support raising the federal gas tax rate under certain conditions; people hold nuanced views about the pros and cons of mileage fees; and linking a transportation tax to environmental goals raises support.

Additional Resources: 

Authors: 

ASHA WEINSTEIN AGRAWAL, PH.D.

Dr. Agrawal is the Director of the MTI National Transportation Finance Center and also Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests in transportation policy and planning include transportation finance, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and travel survey methods. She also works in the area of transportation history. She has a B.A. from Harvard University in Folklore and Mythology, an M.Sc. in Urban and Regional Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

HILARY NIXON, PH.D.

Dr. Hilary Nixon is Deputy Executive Director for the Mineta Transportation Institute. She specializes in transportation and environmental planning and policy, and her research focuses primarily on the factors that influence pro-environmental behavior and the relationship between transportation and the environment. In addition, she is a faculty member in the Master of Science in Transportation Management Program at San José State University. She earned a B.A. from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in Planning, Policy and Design from the University of California, Irvine.

Published: 

June 2019

Keywords: 

Transportation taxes
Transportation fees
Public opinion
Gasoline tax
Mileage fees
Highway user taxation
User charges