Poll: Americans favor additional transportation funding

A new survey indicates that Americans realize how critical the nation's infrastructure is to transportation companies and what a vital role these operations play in the lives of consumers. Fleets completing long-haul and regional runs, as well as those responsible for last mile delivery, need roads and bridges to be in top condition so they can take the most direct route when delivering consumer products, food and other items.

Study shows Americans willing to fund infrastructure projects
Research from Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) indicates many Americans acknowledge the need for additional transportation funding and many would be in favor of individuals helping fund infrastructure improvement projects. Of the 11 transportation tax options presented to respondents, six had majority support.

"A number of the results may surprise legislators," said Asha Weinstein Agrawal, director of the MTI National Transportation Finance Center and associate professor and chair of urban and regional planning at San Jose State University. Agrawal was also one of the authors of the report. "Some taxes received very little support, while others are far more acceptable. For example, a 10 cent gas tax increase to support undefined transportation needs received 23 percent support. But if it was spread over five years, it received 40 percent support."

Eighty percent of respondents claimed better transportation is an important priority in their state, which indicates why the majority of transportation tax options presented to them received significant support. According to the research, when taxes were linked to safety and maintenance or environmental benefits, the number of people who supported them increased significantly.

Increased support in correlation to detailed proposals
Most respondents were not willing to support all tax increases - instead, they preferred proposals that offered more detail as to how funds would be spent and how much the tax hike would cost them annually. Hilary Nixon, co-author of the report and associate professor of urban and regional planning at San Jose State University, explained how tax increases could gain popularity with the public.

"For example, support increases when revenues are dedicated to specific purposes popular with the public, when the tax increase is spread out over several years or when information is provided about how much the increase will cost drivers annually," she said.

Will this impact transportation funding?
While the study itself didn't raise additional funds for infrastructure projects, it could help change public perception about tax hikes aimed at improving roads and bridges or help lawmakers make such proposals more palatable. But in the meantime, drivers could still be forced to utilize roads that are in poor condition or filled with potholes, especially as repair initiatives in many states are underfunded. This may require drivers to slow down to avoid damaging their vehicles, a move that can throw deliveries and pickups off schedule. To ensure runs aren't too delayed, fleet managers should implement the use of routing software that highlights the best roads for drivers to take. This ensures vehicles get to their destinations on time, despite the shabby condition of some local roads a fleet previously utilized.