By on June 12, 2014


As those inside the Beltway debate how best to fund their responsibility for the nation’s transportation infrastructure, a AAA study finds most Americans would pay more taxes for better roads.

Autoblog reports 67 percent of the 2,013 surveyed by AAA want the federal government to get it together and put more money into maintenance, with 52 percent in support of an increase in fuel taxes. Further, 51 percent surveyed would go as far as supporting a candidate who would support increases in funding for road maintenance and construction.

AAA CEO and president Bob Darbelnet added that many Americans were “willing to pay a little more” in taxes if the result led to “better roads, bridges and transit systems,” having become “fed up with record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes caused by political inaction.” In turn, the organization claims drivers would save $324 annually on road-related repairs for their vehicles.

AAA’s call to action comes under the potential threat of road work delays when the Highway Trust Fund — whose replenishment depends on the 18.3-cent/gallon gasoline and 22.4-cent/gallon diesel taxes that last saw an increase over 20 years ago — runs out of funds sometime this August. The Obama administration and a few members of Congress have offered solutions to the funding problem, but nothing more as come of them thus far.

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106 Comments on “AAA: 51 Percent Surveyed Willing To Pay For Better Roads...”

  • avatar

    I’m willing to pay for better roads…

    …Just not in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Crimea or any other place but Murica’.

    • 0 avatar

      We pay for those roads because we want their fuel.

      • 0 avatar

        Then you’d think we’d be paying for roads in Canada and Mexico instead, since those are far more significant sources of US oil imports.

        Afghanistan is not an oil-producing country. The Crimea likewise doesn’t produce anything we want (nor does Ukraine).

        Iraq is a bit player, not important.

        Turns out everything ain’t about oil.

    • 0 avatar

      100% agree of this one. We need better roads, but this should be done at the expense of the military-industrial complex. It’s 10 billion dollar aircraft carriers and ridiculously overpriced and behind the schedule fifth generation fighter jet. We don’t need all that to defend our _actual_ borders for Zeus’s sake.

      • 0 avatar

        The WPA was terminated in 1943, but it lives on in spirit as our annual defense budget. US Military spending supports the largest jobs program in history.

    • 0 avatar

      Your lumping in Afghanistan and the Crimea suggests a certain, erm, superficiality to your foreign policy. Regardless, you’re getting your wish: we’re currently getting a little preview of what a post-American world would look like.

      • 0 avatar


        I AM SAYING: stop bombing other countries so you won’t have ANY OBLIGATION TO FIX THEM.
        I AM SAYING: fix our roads with OUR TAX DOLLARS.
        I AM SAYING: make OUR infrastructure stronger so WE will be more efficient and stronger as a result.

        Bigtruckseriesreview is:
        Pro Gun
        Pro Life
        for Smaller Government
        for balancing the budget
        for reducing the national debt through reduction of the welfare state.
        pro- states rights.
        pro D.O.M.A.
        pro border control
        and 100% ANTI-SOCIALIST.

        VOTE: Bigtruckseriesreview 2016.

        • 0 avatar

          Big Trucks,
          There is an inherent hypocrisy in your platform. If you want to use all that oil driving around in an SRT, the oil has to come from somewhere.

          As oil is a fungible resource, you either reduce our need for imported oil through conservation, or you protect its sources. Otherwise the US economy is at risk, and we’re OPEC’s bitch.

          Which is why US soldiers are in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.

          • 0 avatar


            Your fallacy is in ASSUMING that lies you’ve been told about fossil fuels are true.

            The simple fact is that America has enough coal, natural gas and oil to be ENERGY INDEPENDENT RIGHT NOW.

            The problem is the LIBERAL, GREENER, MALTHUSIAN LUDDITES trying to stop us from getting at our own energy and FORCING US to stay intertwined in the middle East.

            That’s not a conspiracy theory:

            They are openly saying that.

            Furthermore, if the FREE MARKET moves us towards EV or plug-in Hybrids, our consumption of fossil fuels would still be required for our homes unless we make strong moves towards nuclear – and even URANIUM is finite – until we find other viable fissile materials.

            Cold Fusion is NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN and man-made FUSION will ALWAYS require more energy than it produces. (If you want top prove me wrong, go ahead and invent something to prove me wrong. Cause I’m not).

            BOTTOM LINE: fossil fuels are king.

            Electricity has to come from somewhere.

            Heat for our homes in -18 degree weather has to come from somewhere.

            IT AIN’T solar and it ain’t wind buddy!

          • 0 avatar

            “Which is why US soldiers are in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.”

            And how is that working out?

            The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants are taking Iraq in a week. All those Marines that died in Fallujah, and I knew some, had their blood spilled for nothing. ISIS will have Baghdad by the end of the weekend the way things are going.

            Afghanistan is almost back to the way it was (not that Afghanistan has any oil). My friend was injured fighting in the Helmand Province so the Taliban could just retake it after we left?

          • 0 avatar

            OK, BTS, then you explain why Bush Sr. got us into the first gulf war. You explain why he was so close with the Saudi royal family.
            You explain why so many American soldiers are still stationed in the Gulf, getting Al Queda so angry at us that they committed 9/11. You explain why W took us into the second gulf war.

            The issue is that we import oil to fuel our economy. Unless you can convert your SRT to run on LNG or Coal, that fact will not change — not for all the anti-environment rants in the world.

            Big Trucks,
            If you want to crow all day about your SRTs, fine, but at least have the courage to take responsibility for your actions.

          • 0 avatar


            I agree with some of your points, but when it comes to Al-Queda and 9/11, you sound like a battered woman in denial. “Getting Al Queda so angry at us that they committed 9/11.” Really? Al-Queda militants are insane. They will always find another reason to hate us, and anyone else that doesn’t follow their ideal version of Islam.

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t doubt for a second that Al Queda is full of militants who are insane and full of hate. Sometimes, a bullet is the only thing that can stop such insane hatred, although usually that just adds fuel the fire and more recruits to the side of crazy.

            But the US doesn’t need to be their target. If we stayed out of their holy sites and exited Iraq and Afghanistan, then most of their raison d’etre dries up.

            Look at Canada: nobody hates them, at least not enough to commit waves of terrorist acts against them.

          • 0 avatar

            ‘OK, BTS, then you explain why Bush Sr. got us into the first gulf war. You explain why he was so close with the Saudi royal family.’


            #2 We were friendly with the Saudis because we wanted to control their oil revenue and make BILLION$.

            FOLLOW THE MONEY.

            ‘You explain why so many American soldiers are still stationed in the Gulf, getting Al Queda so angry at us that they committed 9/11. You explain why W took us into the second gulf war.’


            ‘The issue is that we import oil to fuel our economy. Unless you can convert your SRT to run on LNG or Coal, that fact will not change — not for all the anti-environment rants in the world.’

            #1 Gas will NEVER be allowed to rise beyond “unaffordable” prices. We’d have a real REVOLUTION then. I am fortunate because I can drive a wasteful vehicle(s) but I probably use LESS fuel in a day driving fewer than 10 miles round trip than most people in Priuses use in a day driving more than 50 miles back and forth to work.

            I will CONTINUE to drive what I want right up until it becomes unaffordable. Then I’ll pick something different.

            ‘Big Trucks,
            If you want to crow all day about your SRTs, fine, but at least have the courage to take responsibility for your actions.’

            #1 What the hell are you talking about???

            >>>>>I agree with some of your points, but when it comes to Al-Queda and 9/11, you sound like a battered woman in denial. “Getting Al Queda so angry at us that they committed 9/11.” <<<<


            I'll never understand people who think America can make terrorists and insurgents "MORE ANGRY" when they are already killing their own women/children over sectarian issues for the last ___ years.

            In my opinion (which isn't by any means humble), these people and their religion aren't willing to accept globalization and they are willing to fight to the death to prevent themselves from becoming part of the international community because it's "freedoms" are diametrically opposed their religion. They aren't simply willing to lay down their AK's and work with the developing world. They don't want to be modernized. They want to continue living their way.


            But apparently, "might makes right" and a "cruise missile" is greater than any holy book.

            They will be ultimately defeated by the influx of western ideaologies (and drone strikes) as those old enough to fight are killed off and those growing up are moved away from their traditions.

            This is no different than classical WAR (We Are Right) and in order to keep Premium 93 Unleaded below $4.00 during summer months, it is IMPLEMENTED POLICY.

            Either way, if you are fortunate enough to "live behind the shield" you are supporting this POLICY everytime you buy ANYTHING: gasoline, hot dogs, beef, cigarettes, marijuana, coffee, cocoa, computers, etc.

            Take a look at other countries like Africa who supply our cocoa, oil, coltan and other minerals.

            I never ASKED who gave the order…
            This is the life we've chosen.

          • 0 avatar

            Based on America’s standing in the world, we would still be a target even if we pulled all the troops out of the Middle East. Countries in Europe are having issues with Islamists and they denounced the most recent War in Iraq. Trying to find reason in anything Al-Queda does is a worthless exercise. The only goal is hate and chaos.

            That being said, the American public does not have the stomach for what it would take to defeat Al-Queda. We probably should just leave because the situation is unwinable with current policy.

          • 0 avatar

            “That being said, the American public does not have the stomach for what it would take to defeat Al-Queda. ”

            I would have NEVER stopped production of the Neutron Bomb.

            In fact, I wonder whatever happened to GWB’s proposed Nuclear J.D.A.M project?

            I was waiting for those…

          • 0 avatar

            Just so we are all clear, these are the facts in Big Truck World:

            1. Gasoline is cheap in the US (compared to nearly any developed nation) and as long as it is cheap, you will waste all you please driving low mileage vehicles.

            2. You are not willing to use foreign policy or the military to guarantee your sources of imported oil. You’ll just hope for the best.

            3. But if gas prices do go up a lot, that will cause a REVOLUTION. But you aren’t willing to lift a finger to stave that off. You’ll just hope that being OPEC’s bitch will work out just fine, while the Chinese invest heavily in alternative energy technologies.

            4. And people who think differently are LUDDITES.

          • 0 avatar

            Um…seems to me we are in Afghanistan due to a small little crisis in the New York area. I am not really sure…but wasn’t a plane full of heroes crashed into some field around PA? And maybe…just maybe I can recall a news item one insignificant evening about a plane being crashed into the smallish government building somewhere near Washington DC.
            See…I am not sure…but this all sounds a bit familiar.

          • 0 avatar

            “the oil has to come from somewhere”

            How about supplies in the Canadian Tar sands, the Bakken and the North slope of Alaska?

            How about saving hundreds of millions of gallons by not policing the world?

            How about the United States vast coal and natural gas supplies, which can be converted to fuel by the Fischer-Tropsch process?

        • 0 avatar

          Just how many smoking craters on American soil (in your backyard, no less) will it take to convince people like you and Vogo that feel-good isolationism doesn’t work?

          It’s hard to take your supposed fiscal conservatism seriously right after you finished defending the Chrysler intervention, you know.

          Like I said: superficial thinking.

          • 0 avatar


            Most would argue that American interventionalism is what’s causing those smoking craters.

            Most would argue that “fiscal conservatism” might be PROVEN by a president who DIDN’T DRAG THEIR COUNTRY INTO WARS HAPHAZARDLY.

            The Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin.

            We need a benevolent, PROTECTIONIST, dictator.

            Put me in charge and I’ll solve ALL our problems.

          • 0 avatar

            On a side note, these lovely conversations are making me want to get American flag badges for my cars…

          • 0 avatar

            Shouldn’t that be an Italian flag with a maple leaf?

          • 0 avatar



            Globalism is something else…

          • 0 avatar

            What a completely content-free response. Bravo.

          • 0 avatar

            btsr, isolationism was already tried under FDR and as a result Hitler was able to rise to power with all the unintended consequences that followed.

            I believe it was around the end of 1941 that the US chose a pro-active interventionist role for itself.

            Now we have come full circle and the isolationists are once again clamoring to vote their people into government office and positions of leadership.

            They succeeded with O* in the White House, and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are dying in the streets.

            Soon we in America will enjoy the same insecurity the people of the Middle East face because the current administration will try to jaw the terrorists into changing their ways.

            The Boston Marathon bombing was a [email protected] attempt by two incompetents. We already know what happens when dedication gets involved. We saw that on 9/11.

            Let’s see how well the pacifists and isolationists like it when Iraq goes off line as an oil exporter and the cost of food and fuel goes into orbit.

            Worse yet, let see how well they like it when the waves of violence spill onto our shores.

        • 0 avatar

          As long as you replace the Cadillac presidential limo with a 300 SRT limo, I’ll vote for you, bigtruck.

        • 0 avatar

          You want a smaller government, yet you want to allow the government to define what the term “marriage” is by “pro DOMA”…something that was ruled unconstitutional? Typical politician—speaking from both sides of your mouth.

          Nice to pick and choose though, but it doesn’t work that way. You’ll hide behind the Second Amendment yet choose to ignore the 14th.

          Classy right there.

          How about this;

          Fund a complete infrastructure overhaul.

          Fund education INCLUDING driver ed.

          Fund viable alternative fuel research.

          Fund better gun control and crime fighting….
          How many school shootings do we need to go through to get this point across?

          Stop Sending Money across the globe.

          Limits on welfare and other government programs. Adding things like random drug testing to eliminate the ones that are abusing the system.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree with you, quite strongly, on border control. And I would like to see better road maintenance, but it would be nice if the survey had come from an independent source.

        • 0 avatar

          Too funny — Pro-gun and pro-life! Contradiction much? I’ll stop here. Hope I never run into to you in NYC (or more likely vice versa with all the speed you prefer)!

        • 0 avatar

          You are not 100% anti socialist if you are for rebuilding our roads. That is a socialist project with its fundamental purpose being to keep some Americans working. Everytime I drive by one of the million construction sites in my area I can’t help but think the workers should be wearing a red star on their construction helmets! there’s so many that our state’s Politburo must be very effective in Washington.

  • avatar

    Congratulations to AAA for finding the exact wording in a survey that would allow it to create the above headline for AB, and now TTAC to reiterate.

    Not because I am opposed to better funding for highway maintenance, but because I am always suspicious when organizations trumpet surveys which they themselves created, which coincidentally support their own interests.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah. Shock. AARP survey shows people get more attractive as they age.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Waingrow

        I was suspicious of the AARP survey too, so I conducted my own. And it’s absolutely true about people becoming more attractive the older they get. Smarter too.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      Isn’t this survey and AAA interests beside the point? The roads and bridges (and airports, for that matter) stink. They’ve got to be upgraded. It’s an enormous economic burden to have such pathetic infrastructure. This is supported by most dispassionate studies by experts in engineering, economics, business, etc. That’s the point. All this other stuff is just a lot of hot air. BTW, did you know that 37% of Americans think the earth is flat?

    • 0 avatar

      This reminds me of the original Lotto scam promises. They promised Lotto money would help solve all our educational issues. So much money would be gotten from the Lottos our schools would be well-funded.
      Well…guess what? BullShit!
      What they did NOT tell us was they would then TAKE monies earlier given to schools and waste it somewhere else, thus keeping the school funding issues alive and well.
      They simply took away the former funds and spent them in more fun ways.
      This whole tax promise on spending is such crap.

      And never will they look as to how well the monies spent now are being spent. Waste be damned! Throw more funds at it!
      Does anybody here REALLY think the government will keep a promise to lower taxes or slow the intake of your money? Does anybody here really think the government will spend ths money as promised?
      No…please, not the Best and Brightest.

  • avatar

    They already fixed the roads. Remember the $830 billion “stimulus,” which was guaranteed to fix our economy with “shovel ready” jobs, with hundreds of thousands going to work repairing roads, bridges and levees.

    Are they saying that didn’t happen? I mean, they certainly spent the money.

    • 0 avatar

      Even if it did, our infrastructure needs more than a $830 billion investment when you look at all open items, deficient bridges, lack of lane miles, crumbling existing roads, and needed safety/technology updates.

    • 0 avatar

      The promise was made in 2009, now it’s time to start paying for it. I’m sure the ARRA sounded great to a lot of people when it was just “government money”.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      Actually, they didn’t spend much of the money. It sits there still. The shovels weren’t, it turns out, entirely ready. And some of what was spent didn’t necessarily go toward roads. Political infighting has made a political football out of some of this also. The stimulus had the real purpose of firing up the economy. As an infrastructure scheme, it was never going to get at the root of the problem, which is a colossal underfunding of infrastructure through Republican and Democratic administrations because of the blowback against raising the gas tax, the normal method of such funding.

    • 0 avatar

      Of that $830 billion stimulus:

      – $291 billion went to tax cuts and credits
      – $264 billion went to entitlements
      – $261 billion went to contracts, grants and loans

      Of that $261 billion, $73 billion went to transportation and infrastructure, and of _that_, $26 billion went to highway infrastructure.

    • 0 avatar

      A lot of the work did happen. I’m in the industry, on the design side. A lot of companies would have folded completely without it; it did help. But realistically, it was only ever going to reduce the pain rather than reverse it. Most of it went to tax breaks and routine gov’t expenditures, and I don’t know what percent of the rest was spent where. The number applied to infrastructure wasn’t that large compared to what a lot of engineers feel it should be (but then, we’d think that, wouldn’t we?).

      But it generally went towards new construction because there was concern that people would get annoyed if it went towards deferred maintenance, and because new projects get more people in private industry involved (engineers and a wider variety of suppliers and trade workers). “Shovel-ready” was a stupid term, though. If something’s shovel ready it’s either routine maintenance or it’s already been designed. Design takes time.

  • avatar

    Cool, there are two E46s in that picture and I don’t see any other model more than once.

  • avatar

    Drivers always want to have good roads to drive their vehicle. Roadways is a critical issue for safety and quality of life. To avoid road accidents, the first and foremost thing to keep in mind is to have good quality roads.

    • 0 avatar

      Many people find that breathing is important in keeping them alive and well. Air is a really good resource for breathing, so people should try to stay close to air whenever possible.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      Robot redux?

    • 0 avatar

      The first and foremost thing to avoid road accidents is to have brakes on your car. You can have a glass-smooth road, but you’ll crash immediately without brakes.

      You need better programming Nancy.

      • 0 avatar

        I disagree. On glass-smooth roads you will have braking issues regardless of whether or not you have brakes.

        You’ll probably have acceleration and steering issues as well, the latter of which is probably most important to not crashing.

  • avatar

    It’s true that people are willing to pay higher taxes to fix roads and bridges.

    It’s also true that if we give government the money, they will spend it on everything but fixing roads and bridges.

    • 0 avatar
      slow kills

      Fact. If it doesn’t buy votes, money won’t go to it.

      I’m all for private toll roads, particularly ones with very high speed limits or maybe none at all.

  • avatar

    “many Americans were ‘willing to pay a little more’ in taxes if the result led to ‘better roads, bridges and transit systems,’ having become ‘fed up with record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes caused by political inaction.’ In turn, the organization claims drivers would save $324 annually on road-related repairs for their vehicles.”

    I believe many Americans are willing to pay a little more for good roads–not pay a little more taxes in general. There’s a difference in knowing that what you pay goes to something specific you want as opposed to a generic slush fund. I am willing to pay a fair price for something I want/need & what benefits me, and I want good roads.

    I don’t know if Americans are willing to pay any more for better “transit systems.” I’ve heard that 90% of Americans support public transportation–for someone else. Again, I am willing to pay for transit if it makes sense. High-speed commuter rail in Houston? Absolutely! High-speed rail connecting cities too distant to drive & too short to fly (Houston-New Orleans, Houston-Dallas)? Hell yes! Light rail in Houston in places already serviced by buses? Hell no.

    Am I fed up with “record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes”? Not really.
    – The length of one’s commute is determined mostly by where you live & work. Align the two and it will be short. I did that, and my commute is mostly unaffected by traffic. I support others having short commutes, too, but that’s about aligning their homes & workplaces, not roads. It’s still an infrastructure upgrade, but not the type that I think this guy’s talking about.
    – I’m not really sure what unsafe highways he means. Certainly, I don’t want bridges to fall down, and I support dividing more highways (less chance for head-on collisions and prevent left turns across traffic).
    – I don’t live in a place with “never-ending potholes,” but I do support fixing roads that fit that description. It’s embarrassing how bad the roads are around Reliant Stadium–a few hundred thousand businessmen & investors come to town for OTC and they get to drive over moonscapes? :facepalm:

    That being said, I have problems with which projects get green-lit v. which get delayed. I have a problem with urban planning where later development causes overcapacity on the infrastructure. The Romans built cities for a set number of people, and they included infrastructure for that many. When it grew to that size, they didn’t expand; they went and built a new city. We do the opposite, and we constantly chase our tails because of it. I have problems with traffic-control measures: programming and maintenance of lights (it’s an insult how long it takes to get flashing lights repaired), turn lanes, locations of exits/on-ramps, etc.

    Although I’m also a cyclist, I don’t like retrofitting roads with bike lanes. The way the local govt has done it doesn’t work well for bikes or cars. Rather, I support building new, separate bike routes that don’t coincide with roads. Drivers don’t want to share the road with cyclists, and as a cyclist, I don’t want to share the road with them. We have bayous, rail ROWs, & power line ROWs that can be used for trails. The cost is minimal, and IMO, it’s worth it to get bikes and cars out of occupying the same space.

    • 0 avatar

      The Fed Government used to be able to do big projects. Not so much today.

      Remember the “Big Dig”? Reagan vetoed it and Congress overrode the veto. Work started in 1991.

      It cost fantastically more than what was projected – orig at $2 billion, the Globe estimates it will cost $22 billion – and took a decade longer to build than estimated. It leaks badly and has killed people. Why? Because they built it through landfill!

      Appropriately the leakiest part is named after the great grifter, Tip O’Neill.

      But at least the most expensive highway project in US history helped w/ traffic congestion. Not really.

      “A 2008 Boston Globe report asserted that waiting time for the majority of trips actually increased as a result of demand induced by the increased road capacity. Because more drivers were opting to use the new roads, traffic bottlenecks were only pushed outward from the city, not reduced or eliminated (although some trips are now faster). The report states, “Ultimately, many motorists going to and from the suburbs at peak rush hours are spending more time stuck in traffic, not less.” The Globe also asserted that their analysis provides a fuller picture of the traffic situation than a state-commissioned study done two years earlier, in which the Big Dig was credited with helping to save at least $167 million a year by increasing economic productivity and decreasing motor vehicle operating costs. That study did not look at highways outside the Big Dig construction area and did not take into account new congestion elsewhere.[”

      It’s actually much worse than I can describe. Read it here:
      Big Dig ceiling collapse

      • 0 avatar

        A few updates:
        Firstly, the purpose of the Big Dig was primarily to reunite the city of Boston with its waterfront. That was accomplished, and quite nicely.

        The second purpose was to add a fourth lane to the now buried 93, as well as many connecting roads to 90 and other routes. Again, that was accomplished.

        Now the highway is so good, that the number of people who want to drive on 93 is more than the 33% increase in capacity. Hence, more traffic. OK, easy fix – tolls that vary with expected traffic, so the people who drive during rush hour pay more.

        No one debates the Big Dig cost more than expected, and took longer. All I can say is ‘Thank You’ to the other 49 states for funding it!

        • 0 avatar

          Boston Harbor is leaking into the tunnel. Massively. Saltwater.

          The steel in the ceiling and walls is being undermined – will continue to collapse.

          • 0 avatar

            OK. I drive through it every week. Should I buy waders? What do you suggest?

          • 0 avatar

            Damn. Have to admit tunnel collapse is one of those things that genuinely terrifies me.

          • 0 avatar

            My big fear is that I’ll be walking outside on a particularly windy day, and the wind will blow the octagonal part of a stop sign off, hurl it down the street like a 70 mph frisbee and decapitate me.

            Which is why I walk like a hunchback in the city when its windy.

    • 0 avatar
      an innocent man

      >Align the two and it will be short.

      Agreed, and there is a great,simple way to nudge people into aligning their work and living places. I reiterate my call for a national 35mph speed limit. On all roads. Dramatic decrease in pollution, in wear and tear on roads, in the need for fossil fuels. Gets people into much more efficient mass transit, gets freight onto the rails. Decentralizes distribution and manufacturing to get it closer to the market. Don’t even need it to be enforced by law enforcement, enforce it through vehicle software.

      • 0 avatar

        We have seen that simply building more roads does not work. I lived across the street from my office for a while and that was the most amazing thing. I would have oven cooked nice lunches and the commute was so relaxing. After that I said I would never live more them 5 miles from my office.

        • 0 avatar

          This is the most optimal solution but it’s almost impossible to do for everyone. One of the reasons it is so hard to do is the inefficient zoning of so many US cities.

          I look forward to a day when technology allows far more of us to not go into an office every day.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve kicked that idea around in my head too. Long-haul trucking would disappear, as trains would be much faster, greatly reducing wear on our highways. Cars would be much cheaper and lighter, as they wouldn’t need to perform at high speed, and the need to protect passengers would be greatly reduced.

  • avatar

    We don’t need to raise taxes to get better roads.

    We’d have the best roads on earth if the state and Federal governments didn’t throw away vast amounts of money on buying the votes of welfare recipients.

    • 0 avatar

      We’d also have the best roads on earth if our construction dollars weren’t largely funneled to well-connected contractors who get rewarded with repair and replacement jobs when their original work fails; who skim the difference between the ‘prevailing wage’ in their quotes and the real wages they pay their crews; who use the difference to corrupt their local political processes and entrench their position; and so on. The whole mess stinks and I am firmly on the side of not putting another nickel into highways until the entire process of contracting is cleaned up. National standards and accountability are needed, even (especially?) at the local level.

      • 0 avatar

        Umm, one fix (that I don’t support) would be to have the Gov’t directly hire, buy the equipment and build it them damn selves. No contracts, no kick backs, no profits. Just wages and roads. Quick, someone remind me why this is a bad idea.

        • 0 avatar

          Five supervisors for each worker. Phony disability claims. Platinum health care costs. Lifetime job guarantees for worthless lazy bums. Spiraling pension costs. No incentive for cost control, innovation or efficiency. Another serving metastasizing government agency.

      • 0 avatar

        “to well-connected contractors who get rewarded with repair and replacement jobs when their original work fails; who skim the difference between the ‘prevailing wage’ in their quotes and the real wages they pay their crews; who use the difference to corrupt their local political processes and entrench their position; and so on.”

        The corruption of public sector and construction unions must be highlighted and crushed.
        I think the problems they cause would be stopped if their excessive cost was put to a referendum. The voters would cut them off at the knees.

  • avatar

    Of course people are willing to pay more for better service and or product. The problem is when you give the government and or their allies more money you DO NOT get a better product.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t pay more because we have no guarantee they won’t be shoddily repaired by some half assing contractor who takes 20 years.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    We could easily afford to maintain the bridges and roads if we simply hadn’t built so damn many.

  • avatar

    I’m willing to bet the same percentage would be willing to pay more for better schools. Since we know the more money they throw at it the worse it gets, I don’t see roads being any different. You want better roads you have to destroy and rebuild the corrupt system which builds and “maintains” them.

    Additional: Highways aside, I notice local road conditions are dictated by the level of dysfunctionality of the local gov’t. A major local road in which I live is in the process of being repaved, the last time it was repaved was… 1988. The borough who is typically $2 million in the hole every year took out a $1.9 million dollar bond for the work to be done. I’m kind of shocked they did actually, as the road as needed some level of semi-serious work at least since 2004- I figured it was never going to be replaced/properly repaired.

  • avatar

    That’s not how first past the post representative democracy with 60% cloture works. As long as 52% of the stronger party in 20 or more states like angry white guys who promise something for nothing, we can’t have road repairs.

  • avatar

    I’ve found we use around 134.51B gallons of gas a year and 48.9B gallons of diesel, with federal and state taxes together averaging 49.4c for gas and 55.4c for diesel, that generates $27.1B a year on diesel and $66.45 on gas for a total of $93B a year. I don’t know how many roads that would build but it’s a whole bunch.

    • 0 avatar

      The Eisenhower tunnel only cost $574M in 2014 dollars, and it’s 1.69 mi long so you could build 274mi of that a year if nothing else. The new bay bridge span cost $6.4B so, you can only build 14 of those or about 30mi a year if nothing else.

  • avatar

    I’d be happy to pay $1.00 a gallon if that money would go to genuine road improvements.

    The largest Maryland road project in recent memory is MD-200, where they spent 185 million dollars per mile (!) (!!!!!) for a new toll road that’s essentially unused.

    I don’t credit people who spend the money they have now that foolishly to do a better job upon being given more of it. These are the same people who’ve tripled spending in the public schools while test scores fell and dropout rates increased, which couldn’t have anything to do with enrollment transitioning to 70% third worlders in that time frame.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Subaru has built an entire brand by telling us how bad the roads are – or how bad they can be. I doubt they want the US to have better roads.

    Roads should be funded by annual vehicle registrations based on GVWR and miles driven, and the fuel tax should be eliminated.

  • avatar

    Most of the commenters above make good points.

    Here’s mine:

    The revenues from fuel taxes, registration fees, and tolls don’t cover what states are spending on roads–which most would agree is not enough, given the already bad condition of our roads–which are getting worst.

    The right thing to do is raise fuel taxes. The more miles and/or more weight, the more wear you put, the more fuel you use.

    Raising gas taxes means that I have that much less to spend on something else–food, clothes, gasoline itself, whatever. So it’s not popular, and it won’t happen, and our roads will continue to get worse.

    As a society, we are overextended in many ways. We are drowning in debt. We import way more stuff (measured in dollar value) than we export. We are getting older. We maintain a ridiculously large imperial military that pays $100/gallon of fuel to police Afghanistan while our borders are overrun.

    The roads, and everything else, will get worse. It was good ride, I hope y’all enjoyed it.

    Oh, and our energy self-sufficiency—illusory, as the ‘easy’ fuel is gone, and if it costs $150 to extract a barrel of oil, it will lead to more deprivation in a society geared for $60/barrel oil and struggling at $100/barrel.

    • 0 avatar

      Your last point is very telling and I agree. Oil drives growth and has since the turn of the century, our society is not designed for high oil prices long term. I think fracking delayed an overall collapse but its coming eventually.

      • 0 avatar

        Hydrocarbons will just eventually become more and more expensive to recover, and other energy sources, like nuclear, will become more and more viable. The US, Canada and Australia alone have between them enough uranium to last indefinitely. Electricity from nuclear can make hydrogen from seawater. The economy will adjust. In the meantime, there are vast amounts of hydrocarbons to recover at affordable prices even with current technology, much less with what is to come.

        • 0 avatar

          If Ike had only not built all those Interstates, then we would not be in the mess we’re in today.

          “Easy” oil isn’t gone. It still bubbles up out of the ground in some places, and oozes out in other places.

          What has changed is the sense of urgency that existed in America during WWII. Now the alarmists and greenweenies are advancing their agrarian agenda of returning the greatest country on earth to the stone age.

          I wonder if Putin pays them any mind. He should! They make money for him by increasing his oil exports.

          But where were the greenweasels when the rain forests in Brazil were axed, or the jungles of Indonesia, or the swamps of Malaysia and the Philippines?

          Oil still is the best source of energy for this planet, and there is still plenty of it. Albeit at a price.

          So, everyone, change your priorities to align them with what is important to you. If you’re a protector of the planet, give up using gasoline!

          That will leave more oil for me and others like me.

          • 0 avatar

            “If Ike had only not built all those Interstates, then we would not be in the mess we’re in today.”

            I highly doubt he imagined that it would keep expanding. The final piece of the puzzle came in 1992, over 20 years after the mans death.

            In the meantime states have built more and more: for example Indianapolis has I65, I465, I865 running through it…meaning more infrastructure to maintain…certainly not Ike’s fault.

          • 0 avatar

            SC5door, I wrote that line with tongue firmly implanted in cheek!

            No one can deny that Ike’s project of building Interstates caused the demand for cars to explode.

            I grew up in a time when cars were what electronic smart devices are today.

            And even at the gnarly old age of 68, I have not lost any lust for them.

            That’s why I never cared about the price of gas, and won’t even think about it until my money runs out. Gas fuels my passion!

            Young people these days don’t even think twice about spending tons of money on electronic smart devices, because it gives them what they want out of life.

            Gasoline fuels what I want out of life!

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            I do think the US’s current situation has been developing and expanding since WWII.

            The issue confronting the US are a lot more complex than many of the simplistic arguments that are being presented.

            Cheap energy would be available if it was cheap. Greenie’s (as much as I do have a distaste for them) aren’t an issue most make out. What about the anit-nukes, hippies, ozone hole, etc.

            Most environmental/emissions regulations have made for a better place to reside.

            The US’s decline started after WWII.

            I find it odd that many state how great the US was. It still is great.

            What I find is most on this talk of the ‘good ole days’, when America had much influence.

            Well it was easy directly after WWII for the US to stand and beat it’s chest as it had little competition. Most everything and any one in what became the OECD where in shambles.

            A few lucky countries like the US, Australia, Canada, NZ, etc weren’t impacted a fraction as Europe or Japan.

            But since WWII the US has created a quagmire of regulations to protect itself, this is costing as Europe and the Japanese rebuilt and restructured.

            So all of the great infrastructure the US has needs maintenance. But who is going to pay when massive amounts of resources is used for protection of ALL interest groups in the US.

            Almost every demographic in the US has some form of handout, subsidy, tariff, etc offered to protect them. Even the gun lobby (which should be banished).

            I do think many Americans’ should sit back, stop whining and expecting the other guy to clean up the mess.

            I do see this in many comments on TTAC. Everyone in the US accusing another of their problems.

            What bull$hit.

            We do have this here in Australia, but nowhere to the same degree as you in the US.

            The US can’t be what it was within a couple of decades of WWII. It just isn’t possible.

            And sitting on your asses whining about what everyone else should be doing isn’t making America what it was.

            It appears there are to many who feel too much a sense of entitlement and cry like a kid who’s getting less pocket money rather than going out and getting a job.

          • 0 avatar

            BAFO, the way I see it, it all boils down to the leadership that the majority of voters choose to put in the White House. I think it is all political.

            All the problems America is experiencing are because of politics and because of the quality of leadership the majority has put in the White House.

            John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, was a great leader, IMO. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, was a great leader, IMO, and a great governor of California. Bill Clinton was a great leader mostly because of his terms as governor in Arkansas, a difficult state to govern.

            Most Americans find ways to cope and work around the problems in order to benefit themselves. America is a great country but nowhere near its potential.

            Someone has to pay for all the freebies the majority wants doled out, but many of those voting for it don’t work and don’t contribute.

            I learned a long time ago that America always gets exactly what it deserves, because we vote for it!

            I don’t worry about anyone outside my immediate family and blood relations. I’m not their keeper and they don’t keep me, nor pay my way through life.

            I want everything that is due me, no more, no less. I paid my dues!

            What the majority in America wants is for someone else to pay their dues for them while at the same time doling out money to the non-productive. Things like Student Loan forgiveness, reduced mortgages if they are upside down, the list is endless.

            But there is no free lunch! Someone has to pick up the tab for the overextended. They dug themselves in, let them dig themselves out. I’ve had to live within MY means. That’s the reason I have worked so hard for decades, in order to improve my condition and those of my loved ones.

            Paying more to maintain better roads is only going to affect the people who actually pay those taxes. Not the ones who coast through life on someone else’s coat tails.

            I’m against it. I don’t want to pay more for America’s roads.

            With a labor participation rate of only 53% in the US, the other 47% get to ride through life for free, and without having done anything to earn their cookies.

            Seems to me the sample size was skewed towards the unproductive 47%. Had they asked the working and taxpaying 53% I doubt they would have volunteered to pay even more in taxes, if they earned $100K/yr or less.

            I say, jack up state registration fees! Let the people with cars pay through the nose for driving their cars. That will immediately take a lot of cars off the roads and reduce the demand for gasoline at the same time.

            That’s my take, but no one surveyed me.

          • 0 avatar

            BAFO, you can’t “banish” the gun lobby (1st Amendment to the US Constitution). The US was doing pretty well as recently as the Clinton administration. I think more people would like to get off their butts and work, but the economy is strangled by enormous government taxation and drunken corrupt spending, incomprehensibly massive debt, and regulation of every gddamned thing up to how you’re supposed to take a pi*s. Try starting and running a business in this country before you start lecturing from afar. Unless you are connected, like GE, GM or Solyndra, and can keep your profits and socialize your losses, good luck. Stay tuned, the medical insurance companies are lining up for their bailouts next. It is inevitable.

  • avatar

    I might be willing to pay “more” for “better roads”.

    But I don’t trust the State to deliver on its promises.

    (Here in Portland they’re not real fast fixing potholes, but somehow there’s millions to spend on New And Improved Bike Paths and “outreach” and recreational projects and Yet More Trains That Lose Money.

    If I trusted them to actually improve roads with more money, rather than siphoning it off to pet projects and then demanding more next year, *forever*, I’d be more sanguine about the project.

    The same, roughly, applies at every level on up to Federal – the incentives don’t align for them to actually spend this new tax income on what “we” “agreed” it’d be spent on.)

  • avatar

    Yes, people will pay more for better roads, a little more, theoretically. Well, “a little more” isn’t nearly enough to cover the maintenance and repair backlog that goes back to the late 1970s, and with the majority of the federal tax going to “special programs”, it’ll actually get worse, not better. The feds need to first replace the user taxes that were diverted over the last 40 years on those “special programs”, and it has to be adjusted for inflation of roadwork costs, not consumer price inflation. Nationwide, at all levels, bridge replacement alone will cost over $1 trillion. That can only come from general taxes, not an increase in the gas tax.

    • 0 avatar

      Lorenzo, whatever people are willing to pay, it is never enough! The system is rigged to where there never is a break-even point.

      I”m no Democrat and neither am I a Republican, but I am NOT willing to pay more for better roads because, my experience has shown that it will never be enough.

  • avatar

    Yeah, better roads, not bike paths, high speed rail, $1 million dollar outhouses named after politicians, or anything else not related to the interstate highway system.

  • avatar
    George B

    The gasoline taxes charged at the pump are a combination of 18.4 cents to the federal government and a larger amount to state government.

    If you want more tax revenue available for highways, the way to get it done is to raise the excise tax state-by-state combined with some legal restriction earmarking the state gasoline tax for highway construction. My preference would be state constitutional amendments to keep gasoline tax revenue from going into the general fund. Any reasonably competent state politician should be able to sell a higher cents per gallon state tax combined with a requirement that those funds actually get spent on roads and not schools, public transportation, etc.

    Once the government is put on a short leash earmarking fuel taxes for highways, it’s possible to have an adult conversation about tax revenue and highway cost. Full budget transparency. The tax will probably have to go up just to compensate for the erosion of the value of the dollar. Probably need to adjust the tax to compensate for improved fuel efficiency too. Point is it’s easier to get motorists to pay higher gasoline taxes for roads if they see the need and they have some guarantee that the taxes will be spent on roads.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “some legal restriction earmarking the state gasoline tax for highway construction”

      Good luck with that. We had a situation out here where the Illinois State Police was not feeling the panther love all that much. The fleet was just plain worn out. Average mileage exceeded 150,000 miles. etc. Bad.

      So, we got a law passed that increased the cost of license plates by a couple dollars. Iron clad language that made sure the cash went directly to buying new cars and nothing else.

      Well, they got a new fleet. It worked. Except it didn’t, because they had no money to buy the lights and other equipment, and no money to hire anybody to take equipment out of the old cars and put it into the new cars. So the new fleet just sat there and grew, because the money for new cars kept coming, little by little. And the law said they had to buy new cars with it. Every so often they scrape together enough spare cash from the general fund to get one of the new cars out on the road.

      So. Be careful what you wish for. ‘Highway Construction’ either has a very very specific meaning or it has almost no meaning at all. Perhaps we should instead focus on getting better public servants into office, allowing us to view the ‘operational flexibility’ that our chosen form of government offers as a benefit instead of a hinderance.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I’d say 51 percent is pretty low. People like the status quo.

    Most places, it would take roughly a 40 cent per gallon tax increase to make roads self-suffcient in their current state of slow deterioration. For 50 cents (and indexation against construction costs) you could begin to make some progress.

    Its not necessarily true that a gas tax increase overall comes out of our pockets. Remember, our roads are now heavily subsidized by general revenues. Those funds could be diverted to doubling the child tax credit, for example, which would neatly compensate overall, economically speaking, for the increase. Or, we could give the tax cut to the plutocrats. The deficit wouldn’t be helped, but we would have rationalized a big chunk of our transportation infrastructure.

  • avatar

    I live in southern California. We already pay $0.713 a gallon in gas taxes and $0.74 a gallon in diesel taxes. We have no weather to speak of. Our roads will rip the wheels out from under your car if you don’t pay attention to the pavement surface at all times. People that think that paying more taxes will get them better roads probably also think giving more money and power to the teachers’ unions will educate their children.

    • 0 avatar

      Preach it, CJ! Just this morning it was announced that Brown and the Dems in Excramento agreed that 1/3 of the cap and trade tax/extortion funding will be spent on the high speed rail project, while the roads in Southern CA are considered the worst in the country, despite the little weather damage they incur.

      The city government is attempting to extort ‘assesments’ for neighborhoods that need their streets repaved by having the homeowners cough up money to get that work done.


  • avatar

    I’m not surprised that most people would say this. It’s refreshing to think we might actually see some tangible benefit to our tax dollars, as opposed to considering our taxes as money thrown down a black hole, never to be seen again.

  • avatar
    old fart

    Gas is high enough already, make the tax (if you have to have one ) income based . Of course that’ll never fly .

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