Voters want better roads, payment uncertain

road repair, ca govA new Field Poll found California registered voters want more construction and repairs to the state’s shaky road system. But they’re stuck before a fork in the road when it comes to paying for them.

A whopping 71 percent favor spending more money to fix the roads. A smaller number, 48 percent, favor building new roads; but that’s still higher than the 35 percent opposed to new roads.

But voters split evenly — 49 percent in favor, 48 percent against — when asked if they want to pay 10 cents more per gallon to “improve the condition of state roads and highways.”

Democrats most favor the higher tax levy, at 63 percent affirmative. Republicans oppose it, with 64 percent negative. Given the higher Democratic registration in the state, that should drive the poll in the “yes” camp.

Except the decisive factor is the increasing share of voters who are “No party preference/other.” They clock at 45 percent in favor of the higher tax, 53 percent opposed.

Californians believe, with 76 percent affirming, that “Californians pay more in gasoline taxes compared to most other states.” As the Field Poll noted, in this they are correct:

“at 63.79 cents per gallon, Californians currently pay the second highest combined state and federal gasoline tax rate in the nation, behind only Pennsylvania. The national average is 48.23 cents per gallon.”

No car monitors

A new proposal in California is to pay for roads by miles driven, rather than directly taxing gas purchases. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Gov. Jerry Brown and other officials are looking at the idea.

But for now, state voters want to push the idea off a cliff. The Field Poll found 66 percent opposed, and only 30 percent supported the proposition to:

“Install an electronic device on motor vehicles to measure the exact amount of miles you drive to enable the state to assess a for road funding based on the number of miles people drive instead of charging for gas taxes at the pump.”

Democrats, at 59 percent opposed, were nearly as opposed as Republicans, at 74 percent. No party preference/other was in the middle, exactly at the 66 percent opposed of all those asked.


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votersroad repairField PollJohn Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles,, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email: [email protected]

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