Sunday, December 21, 2008

A poll they wouldn't dare take three months ago

Boston Globe: "Grudging support for gas tax hike in poll"

Massachusetts residents are more willing to embrace higher gas taxes to repair the state's crumbling transportation system than any other proposed solution, including higher tolls or more booths at the state's borders, a Boston Globe poll shows.

In fact, higher tolls - as recently proposed by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority with Governor Deval Patrick's support - are by far the least popular among an array of suggestions that have been floated to fix the state's transportation woes.

Patrick has called it a bad time, with the economy sagging, to raise the gas tax. House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi has said he would prefer a tax hike, which affects motorists generally, to toll hikes that burden only some.

When those polled were asked to choose between raising tolls on the turnpike or raising the gas tax, the tax won out 48 percent to 42 percent. The feelings about taxes or tolls varied considerably depending on where respondents live - toll hikes were the clear preference of those from the state's west and southeast sections, who are least likely to pay them.
It was sure nice of the Globe to wait until gas prices hit a record low before asking all of Massachusetts how to pay for the near-bankrupt Turnpike Authority and its white elephant, the Big Dig. Apparently the fair thing to do is have all Bay State residents pony up for a public benefit (such as it is) that serves only Boston commuters.


Anonymous said...

But isn't the point that the Turnpike was not, in fact, responsible for the Big Dig. Those who use the Big Dig come from the north and the south as well as the west. Using the Turnpike as a funding mechanism was only another avoidance of responsibility by the political class. At least the gas tax is an admission that the Big Dig is a general governmental obligation.

Bram said...

I took that other poll years ago. The one about preferring to move out of the state rather than paying MA taxes. I've met many Bay State ex-pats along the way who came up with the same answer.