Studies Offer Public’s Views on Increasing the Gas Tax and Other Fees to Raise Transportation Revenue

Two recent studies, one by Morgan State University and the other by the Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies for the Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Distributors Association and the Maryland Motor Truck Association, found that Marylanders are opposed to increasing the gas tax.  However, the Morgan study did find support for increasing inspection and licensing fees for vehicles.

From on the Morgan study:

Survey respondents were asked to rank how they felt about several different funding proposals from 1 to 7, 1 meaning they strongly disagreed with implementing them, and 7 meaning they strongly agreed with implementing them.

The only proposal with a ranking above 4 – giving it an agreeable rating – was increasing inspection and licensing fees for the vehicles causing the most pollution. Study authors also categorized as favorable support increasing everyone’s registration and licensing fees and changing the focus of general obligation bond money.

Because of its relatively low ranking, study authors cited “lukewarm support” for increasing the gas tax, which was recently touted by business and industry leaders as the best way to improve transportation funding. People indicated that if the gas tax does increase, they would prefer to pay another cent each year, instead of indexing the gas tax to inflation.

The lowest marks were given to tax and fee increases that have nothing to do with vehicle transportation, or are new and could be unfair. Survey respondents panned increases in bus and rail fares, airport fees, and a 0.5% sales tax hike.

As reported by The Capital on the Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies study:

Seventy-eight percent of voters oppose increasing the tax by 10 cents per gallon, according to the survey. Even a 5 cent per gallon increase meets with opposition, as 59 percent of voters said they do not support such an increase.While no region of the state supported raising gas taxes, the opposition was less strong in Baltimore and the Washington, D.C., suburbs than anywhere else in the state. Opposition was strongest in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, both largely rural areas.

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