THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION
Even with a highly polarized electorate that remains steadfast in its belief that things in the nation are off on the wrong track there is wide agreement—across the partisan spectrum—that leaders in Washington should be seeking common ground. Nowhere is this more true than legislation related to the country’s transportation infrastructure. Indeed, two in three voters say that making improvements in infrastructure is very important, and most voters say that in its current state the nation’s transportation system is barely adequate. Voters seek better and safer roads and more public transportation options, widely agreeing that the United States would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system.
Moreover, few believe that current government spending in this area is efficient and wise, and voters welcome a range of reforms in how transportation projects are financed. At the same time, as is the case with many spending-related issues today, voters are unwilling to personally pay for additional funding of national transportation projects. While wide support exists for encouraging more private investment, imposing penalties on over-budget projects, and establishing a National Infrastructure Bank, there is very little support for increasing the federal gas tax or increasing tolls on interstate highways and bridges.
Two in three voters say that improving the nation’s infrastructure is highly important, and many say our current infrastructure system is inadequate.
- 66% of voters say that improving the country’s transportation infrastructure is extremely (27%) or very (39%) important. Another 27% say it is somewhat important. Just 6% say it is not important.
- Again, majorities of Democrats (74%), independents (62%), and Republicans (56%) say this is very or extremely important, as do 59% of Tea Party supporters.
- The importance of improving infrastructure also is consistent regardless of the length of a voter’s commute—whether their commute is less than 15 minutes (60% important), between 15 and 44 minutes (69%), or 45 minutes or longer (63%).
- Indeed, 44% say that roads are often or totally inadequate and that only some public transportation options exist for those who want them. Only 4% of voters say that roads are totally adequate with lots of public transportation options, while 50% say roads are mostly adequate and there are just enough public transportation options.
The Bottom Line: Voters of all political stripes are tired of partisan gridlock in Washington—they want leaders to work together and seek compromise to get things done for the country. They overwhelmingly say elected leaders should cooperate when it comes to transportation infrastructure, seeing improvement in this area as a way to improve the economy, make communities safer, and improve Americans’ quality of life. And while voters oppose some funding streams they widely endorse others, and they clearly see a need for reform when it comes to financing transportation projects.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
“The Rockefeller Foundation supports work that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health and environmental challenges—affirming its pioneering philanthropic mission since 1913 to promote the well-being of humanity.”