Poll: 70 percent of US residents want more road funding

Poll: 70 percent of US residents want more road funding

Seventy percent of U.S. residents want Congress to increase the amount of money it spends on transportation projects, according to a new poll released on Tuesday by the AAA auto club. 

The finding comes as lawmakers are facing an Oct. 29 deadline for renewing federal infrastructure spending.

The AAA poll showed 70 percent of U.S. residents think "the federal government should invest more than it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems." 

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The group's president, Marshall Doney, said the findings should spur Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill instead of settling for a temporary patch at the end of the month. 

“Americans rely on our nation’s roads and bridges every day, yet Congressional inaction has led to longer commutes, more potholes and unsafe conditions,” Doney said in a statement. “Motorists are dissatisfied that our national leaders repeatedly have failed to meet the basic needs of drivers across the country.” 

Congress is struggling to come up with a way to pay for an infrastructure funding extension ahead of the Oct. 29 deadline for extending the federal government's authority to pay states for transportation projects.

Transportation advocates complain that Congress has not passed an infrastructure measure that lasts longer than two years since 2005 due to a highway funding shortfall that is estimated to be $16 billion annually.

The traditional source for transportation funding is revenue that is collected by the federal gas tax, which is currently set at 18.4 cents-per-gallon. The gas tax brings about $34 billion per year, but the federal government typically spends about $50 billion annually on transportation projects.

Transportation advocates have pushed for a gas tax increase to help make up the difference, but Republicans have been reluctant to ask drivers to pay more at the pump

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has warned that it will have to begin cutting back on payments to states and local governments for infrastructure projects in November if Congress does not reach an agreement on a highway bill extension this month.