By Justin Sink
A strong majority of Americans say they'd vote against a new gas tax designed to pay for infrastructure repairs and new mass transit, according to a poll released Monday by Gallup.
The survey found that 66 percent of Americans would reject a 20-cent per gallon state tax that was dedicated to paying for road and bridge repairs. By contrast, just three in 10 say they would support such a plan.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states have recently approved or are considering increased tax hikes to fund infrastructure improvements and mass-transit projects. Last month, Maryland lawmakers voted to increase the state's gas tax for the first time in 20 years.
The tax is particularly unpopular in the Midwest and South — only a quarter of the residents of those areas support the idea — while 32 percent of those living in the Eastern United States and 37 percent of those living in the West say they would back the measure.
"It is not clear whether Americans' lack of support for this proposal stems from the type, amount, or purpose of the tax," said Gallup's Alyssa Brown in a statement. "Americans may be opposed to increasing the price of gas — a necessary commodity for many individuals — during a fragile economy, regardless of how the resulting funds are used."
Last month, President Obama called on federal lawmakers to approve a $21 billion package aimed at improving the nation's infrastructure. As part of the package, the president called for $7 billion in tax incentives to support state and municipal bonds and $4 billion in loans and loan guarantees.
“Let's get this done. Let's rebuild this country we love. Let's make sure we're staying on the cutting edge,” Obama told a crowd in Miami.