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36 in the state gasoline tax to maintain and improve the state's Asked to choose between gas tax increases and conversion roadways, 55% said they would oppose an increase and 8% to toll roads, 23% selected gas tax increases, whereas 61% did not know. selected toll roads and 16% had no preference. Given the choice for project management between PPPs and the public alone, respondents were almost equally divided (46% to 45%, SURVEYS ON A RANGE OF ROAD PRICING AND FUNDING ISSUES with 9% indicating no preference). More educated persons and those aware of toll projects in their areas were more likely to The final section presents polls and surveys that elicited pub- support PPPs. Support increased slightly in the survey version lic opinion on a variety of road pricing and funding schemes. that mentioned that PPPs generally resulted in quicker project Because these research studies were more diverse in their completion. questions and results, it was found to be more appropriate to present them in this general section rather than under the pre- Support for HOT lanes (i.e., SOVs in HOV lanes for a toll) vious specific topics. was mixed, with 52% agreeing that it was a good feature and 48% saying it was not. Older individuals, males, those who travel to work on toll roads and those who live 50+ miles from 99. Statewide Oregon (2000) their workplace had a greater tendency to support HOT lanes. Minimal support was evidenced for congestion pricing (i.e., Method: Survey. Universe: Oregon voters. Sample size: increase in toll rates during rush hours), with 26% agreeing it Not reported. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: was a good feature and 74% disagreeing. Significant public Not reported. support was evidenced for charging higher tolls for trucks, with 79% of respondents saying "yes" this should occur. In the spring, AAA Oregon/Idaho surveyed Oregon voters on Seventy-five percent agreed with the statement that tolls a variety of ideas for funding highways (107). The results did should be reduced after construction was paid; 22% disagreed not show strong support for either a large gas tax increase and 7% were neutral. Seventy-eight percent agreed with the or electronic tolling. Of the ideas tested, the highest level of statement that revenues from tolls should stay in the region. opposition (91%) was toward a per-household highway access fee, 81% opposed a mileage fee, 75% opposed an automatic increase system in the fuel tax, and 68% opposed tolls to 101. San Diego, California (2003) reduce congestion on highways. In terms of fuel taxes, 54% were willing to pay an extra 2 cents a gallon; however, support Method: Survey. Universe: San Diego voters. Sample size: declined as the tax increase went to 3 cents and 4 cents. A $10 N = 1,200. Margin of error: ±2.9%. Sample type: Voter reg- vehicle fee was supported by 55%. istration list. In 1987, San Diego County voters approved a 20-year half- 100. Texas (2003) cent sales tax to pay for county transportation improvements (109). This sales tax was set to expire in 2009. A survey was Method: Survey. Universe: Texas householders, English and conducted in 2003 to gauge support for extending the tax. Spanish speaking. Sample Size: N = 2,111. Margin of error: Respondents were asked if they would "support or oppose ±1% for statewide responses. Sample Type: RDD. extending the half-cent tax for 30 years to pay for additional county transportation improvements and operations." Sixty- The Center for Transportation Research at the University two percent supported extending the tax, whereas 29% opposed of Texas conducted a statewide public opinion assessment it. When read the language of the ballot measure that men- of new toll roads in various areas of the state of Texas on tioned specific highways to be improved, expansion of transit behalf of TxDOT (108). About half (51%) agreed that drivers for seniors and disabled persons, expansion of other public should not have to pay tolls for new roads; 37% disagreed and transit services, and expedites and finances improvements, 12% were neutral. Older individuals and those who were rela- 72% said they would vote "yes" on this ballot measure. The tively new to the area were more likely to support tolls for both item went to ballot in November 2004 and passed with a slim new and existing roads; however, retired individuals were less margin over the mandatory two-thirds requirement. likely. Seventy-one percent of respondents agreed with the statement that drivers should not have to pay tolls for existing Respondents were also asked about support or opposition roads, 22% disagreed, and 7% were neutral. This question was to construction of managed lane facilities in freeway corridors asked in two different ways. Survey version one mentioned the throughout San Diego County for use by BRT and carpools as costs for construction and maintenance that TxDOT incurs well as SOVs if they paid a toll. Seventy-six percent sup- yearly, and version two gave the average yearly costs for an ported construction, whereas 20% opposed and 4% had no American to own and operate a vehicle. There was greater opinion. Most individuals (73%) believed this system of man- agreement with the statement that drivers should not have to aged lanes would have a positive effect in reducing traffic pay tolls with version two. congestion (19% a "great deal" and 54% said "some").
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37 When asked about priorities for some specific transporta- lanes (free HOV travel) and express toll lanes (all travelers pay tion-related issues, 54% gave a high priority to building a toll). None of the participants were familiar with the concept new roads and freeways, 42% gave a high priority to building of value pricing. After being given examples, most believed new lanes on existing freeways where buses and carpools that offering an incentive for carpooling and transit use was a would ride free and SOV could pay a toll, and 24% gave a good idea, although most did not feel they were in a position high priority to building new toll roads. to take advantage of those options owing to time commitments and family constraints. About half of the participants stated that San Antonio was not at the point of needing value priced 102. Greater Washington, D.C. Area (2005) lanes. Others believed it would be good idea as an option to Method: Survey. Universe: Adults living in Washington, D.C.; avoid congestion. The idea of dynamic pricing was strongly Maryland; and Virginia. Sample size: N = 1,003. Margin of opposed in each group. Most participants also believed that the error: Not reported. Sample type: Not reported. price of tolls paid, up to $8, on the example project in Califor- nia were "outrageous" and did not believe anyone in San Anto- In January, The Washington Post in association with ABC nio would be willing to pay that much. All participants were in News sponsored a poll of Washington metropolitan region's favor of HOT lanes rather than express toll lanes, because residents on attitudes toward transportation infrastructure HOT lanes reward or encourage carpooling and public trans- funding (110). In response to the survey question, "Which of portation. It was important to most participants that the toll the following do you think is a better way to pay for highway revenue be reinvested in local transportation projects. The expansion or new highways in your area?", respondents said question of equity was brought up during the focus groups. In charging tolls, 60%; raising taxes, 30%; neither, 9%; and no one group, there was a concern about the impact of limited opinion, 1%. Across the three jurisdictions, support for tolls access points along the study corridor for businesses. In was 75% in the District of Columbia, 61% in Maryland sub- another group, the effect of tolling on lower-income drivers urbs, and 53% in Virginia. In addition, 58% of the regions' was raised. There was general agreement across groups that residents supported the concept of HOT lanes, whereas 48% wealthy drivers would use the facility more often, but that it supported adjustable (or time-variable) tolls. At the time of would be beneficial for everyone to have a choice of using or the poll, there were proposals in Virginia to build HOT lanes not using the value priced facility. on the Beltway and on Interstates 95 and 395. In Maryland, officials were considering adding express toll lanes to the Method: Survey. Universe: San Antonio residents who trav- Beltway, I-270, the Baltimore Beltway, and I-95 north of eled on I-35. Sample size: N = 632. Margin of error: Not Baltimore. reported. Sample type: RDD In June, a survey was administered by the Public Policy 103. United States--National (2005) Research Institute of Texas A&M University (112). Thirty- eight percent of those surveyed agreed that "express toll lanes Method: Survey. Universe: Adults nationwide. Sample size: should be constructed on I-35." Forty-three percent disagreed N = 1,204. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: Not with the statement, and 18% had no opinion. Half of respon- reported. dents agreed that "charging tolls on the new lanes is accept- In January, The Washington Post and ABC News also spon- able if they are not congested." Thirty eight percent disagreed, sored a survey to assess support for various congestion miti- and 12% had no opinion. When asked what should be done gation policies among a national sample of respondents (110). with the generated toll revenue once the express toll lanes Levels of support ranged from 51% for HOV lanes (if none were paid for, most users believed that maintenance of exist- now), 36% for single-driver tolls in HOV lanes, 32% for a ing highways, local roads (I-35 or in the region), or new lanes higher gas tax, 29% for adjustable tolls, and 11% for city cen- should be the priority. ter tolls. At the time of the poll gas was at $1.91 for a gallon of regular unleaded. Sixty-five percent of respondents opposed a 105. Switzerland National (2005) higher gas tax, with 43% opposed to implementing HOV lanes. Method: Survey. Universe: Respondents 18+ years to a Swiss 104. San Antonio, Texas (2005) Federal Railroads survey. Sample size: N = 1,005. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: Not reported. Method: Focus groups. Number: Four groups, with a total 19 individuals. Participants: San Antonio residents who The Institute for Transport Planning and Systems, ETH Zurich, traveled the I-35 study corridor. in collaboration with the Transport and Mobility Laboratory, EPF Lausanne, and the Institute for Economic Research, Uni- In February and March, TxDOT sponsored focus groups as versity of Lugano, conducted a survey about preferences for part of the San Antonio I-35 Northeast Corridor Value Pricing different transport pricing schemes (113). At the time of the Study (111). The groups were used to test the individuals's survey, a simple type of road pricing already existed in the understanding and opinions of value priced lanes--both HOT country. Each car driver who wanted to use Swiss motorways
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39 of travel (as opposed to a gas tax), and scaled to actual use (as somewhat). Version two added the following phase to the end opposed to an excise tax). Those who expressed a preference of version one "and gives everyone an opportunity for a for gas taxes did so because that collection infrastructure is faster, reliable trip when they really need it." Awareness was already in place and does not require that individuals adapt to 36% and, of those, 65% approved of HOT lanes (32% an additional complex system. The gas tax also penalizes those strongly and 33% somewhat). who drive vehicles with poor gas mileage. Above all, partici- pants were skeptical that this GPS-based system would replace Half of the sample was asked whether it was fairer to an existing form of taxation, but rather would simply be added increase the gasoline tax or increase the number of tolls on on top of current taxes. Participants were concerned that such a highways and roads. Forty-seven percent said more tolls; 35% mileage-based tolling system would impose a financial burden said increase the gas tax. The other half of the sample was on households with limited or fixed incomes. Participants were asked the same question with the added phrase "be more fair very clear that revenue collected should fund transportation, as to lower-income groups and those on fixed incomes." Fifty- opposed to general government expenditures, and transporta- two percent said more tolls, and 27% said increase the gas tax. tion in the region. Concerns about privacy were less focused on The vast majority of respondents (84%) had driven a toll road, the collection of the information per se and more on how that 89% had used a toll bridge, and 88% had used HOV lanes. information could be used if it got into the wrong hands. Method: Survey. Universe: Registered voters. Sample size: 109. Statewide California (2006) N = 1,118. Sample margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: Not reported. Method: Survey. Universe: California adults 18+ years, En- glish and Spanish speaking. Sample size: N = 2,705 and 815. A statewide telephone survey was conducted as one part of Sample margin of error: Not reported. Type: RDD. public attitudes of Washington State voters toward transporta- tion issues for the Washington State Transportation Commis- Researchers supported by the Mineta Transportation Institute sion (116,117 ). Generally, the public was amenable to using at San Jose State University conducted two surveys in 2006 to tolls to fund specific projects and in specific situations. People measure public opinion regarding a range of revenue options want assurances from government leaders that if tolls are used, to fund transportation, including tolls and road pricing (118). they will be used efficiently and implemented fairly. Support for various options in rank order was Thirty-eight percent of respondents were aware of "tolling · Truck-only-toll lanes, 64%. roads or bridges as a way to shift traffic patterns and spread out · HOT lanes, 55%. road usage by charging higher tolls when there is a lot of traf- · Toll roads, 47%. fic and lower tolls when there is less traffic." Of those individ- · Variable registration fees, 44%. uals who responded that they were aware, 52% believed this · Express toll lanes, 44%. was a "good idea" and 42% a "not-so-good idea." Sixty-three · Gas tax, 40%. percent preferred that "tolls be considered only in special · Sales tax, 40%. project-by-project situations," 18% said "tolls should be con- · Vehicle license fee, 40%. sidered as a general source of transportation revenue," and · Tolls on new highway lanes, 40%. 17% said "tolls should never be considered." · Registration fees, 32%. · General obligation bonds, 30%. Respondents were read three statements about the goals of · Indexed gas tax, 27%. tolling and were asked if they agreed or disagreed. Fifty-eight · Mileage fee, 22%. percent favored the use of tolls as a way to "provide funds to improve our highway system," compared with 36% who Generally, highest support for toll roads was evidenced favored the use to "shift traffic patterns and spread out road among those respondents from 18 to 34 years old (54%) com- usage by charging higher tolls to discourage use when there is pared with respondents older than 55 years (43%). Support a lot of traffic and lower tolls when there is less traffic." Forty- was also higher among women (50%) than among men (43%). four percent favored use of tolls to "both raise funds and to For tolls on new highway lanes--highest support was noted shift traffic patterns and spread out road usage." among respondents with annual incomes above $100,000 (46%) compared with 36% for those under $50,000. Respondents were asked about their awareness of and sup- port for HOT lanes. Support was measured with two different wording formats. Version one described HOT lanes as "high- 110. Nationwide (2006) occupancy toll lanes, where carpools use the lanes for free and solo drivers can choose to use the lanes for a toll. The toll Method: Survey. Universe: Adults (18 years of age and older) would vary based on the number of cars in the toll lanes to living in private households in the continental United States. keep the lanes free flowing." Awareness was 30% and, of Sample size: N = 2,394. Margin of error: ± 2 percentage those, 61% approved of HOT lanes (21% strongly and 40% points. Sample type: Telephone probability.
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40 In November, an AAA survey indicated that 71% of those Respondents were then provided with five options to help Americans polled believed "more money is needed for trans- pay for the transportation system. Respondents generally portation because we are not keeping pace with demands on favored raising transportation funding through the addition of the system" (119). Respondents were presented with five tolls over non-toll initiatives. "I am going to read 5 options to tolling options for managing congestion. "Some states are help pay for our transportation system. Assuming each of the looking at various types of toll options to help manage con- options would raise equal amounts of money, please tell me if gestion. In choosing among the following options, which you support using each option as a means to increase funding would you likely favor? I will read the entire list to you and for transportation." Overall, 52% of respondents selected one then repeat each option to you, at which time you can answer of the toll options, whereas 40% chose one of the non-toll yes or no." Support for each option in rank order was options. Support for each option in rank order was · Add tolls only on new roadways, 34%. · Add tolls only on new roads and highway lanes, 39%. · Allow solo drivers to pay a toll and ride in HOV lanes, · Add tolls on new and existing roads and highway 34%. lanes, 33%. · Add tolls only on new roads and increase tolls during · Increase motor fuel taxes, 21%. times of high traffic volume, 31%. · Impose a vehicle-mile tax based on the number of miles · Add tolls on new and existing roadways, 28%. driven, 19%. · Add tolls on new and existing roadways and increase · Increase non-fuel taxes such as sales, income, and prop- tolls during times of high traffic volume, 27%. erty taxes, 15%.