The gas tax traditionally brings in about $35 billion per year, and the legislation that has been approved by Congress spends more than $50 billion annually on road and bridge projects. Transportation advocates have pushed for changes to the funding mechanism for infrastructure development, arguing that gas tax revenues will continue going down because cars are getting more efficient gas mileage.
Proposals to increase transportation revenue by mechanisms such as increasing the gas tax or instituting a tax based on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) instead of fuel purchases have faced opposition in the past.
The AEM poll found that opposition to gas tax increases remains strong, with 70 percent of its respondents saying they would oppose a 10 cent-per-gallon increase. The equipment manager's group said, however, that 53 percent of its respondents said they would support increasing a temporary five-year increase in overall sales taxes to pay for transportation construction.
The $105 billion transportation bill that was passed by Congress last year uses a mix of trust fund sweeps and tax loopholes to cover the gap between gas tax revenues and its $54 billion per year spending levels, which advocates warn is just enough to maintain the current transportation system.
The measure, which is known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) bill, is set in 2014.
The full AEM poll can be read here.