To say the findings of a recent study reported on by our sister site Better Roads are a bit shocking is an understatement. Maybe the understatement of the year.
Be honest. If you had access to a swath of the American population and could ask them what they value more than their iPhone or cable TV, would you have ever guessed that any of them, let alone an overwhelming majority, would say “good roads”?
Yet, that’s exactly what a recent survey by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association recently found. Between 75 and 80 percent of Americans polled in the survey said they would rather have “safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation infrastructure” over a cell phone or cable TV.
They even picked good roads over electricity. Electricity. Water, sewage and natrual gas services also lost out to good roads on the preference scale.
In addition, 88 percent think infrastructure is important in maintaining a strong economy and 74 percent said “investing in transportation infrastructure should be a core function of the federal government.”
Another interesting tidbit is that 40 percent of respondents said they have no clue how much they’re paying in gas taxes each year. And despite apparent opposition from voters, increases to gas taxes have been heavily considered by several states and the federal government as a way to come by more infrastructure funding.
There’s also a clue in the ARTBA survey as to why most Americans don’t like the idea of a gas tax. In 2011, the average American household paid $46 in gas taxes, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration. And 24 percent of Americans surveyed by ARTBA estimated they pay more than double than that amount each year.
Most interesting? The average American household pays 3.5 times per month for cell phone service and 2.5 times more each month for cable TV than they do in federal and state gas taxes. Food for thought.