Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Center for Opinion Research

Gas Tax Release

Prepared by:
Dr. G Terry Madonna, Director
Center for Politics and Public Affairs

Berwood A. Yost, Director
Center for Opinion Research
Head Methodologist

Pennsylvanians Support Gas Tax Increase to Repair Storm Damaged Roads

The latest Keystone Poll finds that a majority (53%) of Pennsylvania's citizens support an increase in the state's gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to help repair bridges and roads that were damaged by this winter's blizzard and flooding. In fact, the majority of those who support an increase in the gas tax (59%) believe that the increase should be large enough to repair both storm damaged roads and those roads that needed repair before the storm. Half (48%) of those who support an increase in the state's gas tax would support a 15 cent a gallon increase to fund road and bridge improvements.

Support for an increase in the state's gas tax is more pronounced among several demographic groups. Registered voters (56%) are more likely to support an increase in the gas tax than are those who are not registered to vote (43%). In terms of educational attainment, college graduates (64%) are most likely to support an increase in the gas tax. Females (57%) are more likely than males (48%) to favor an increase in the state's gasoline tax.

Gas Tax Questions

23. Now I'd like to ask you some questions about Pennsylvania's roads and bridges. As a result of January's blizzard and flooding, it is estimated that some 40 bridges have been closed and another 1,000 need repair. In addition, hundreds of miles of local and state roads were also damaged by the severe weather. To help the state repair the bridges and roads damaged in this disaster, would you support or oppose an increase in the state's gasoline and diesel fuel taxes?

     53%  Yes, Support
     42%  No, Oppose 
      6%  Don't Know

Questions 24 and 25 were asked only of those who support an increase in the gas tax (n=316)

24. Before this year's winter storms, the Federal Highway Administration rated 73% of the state's roads as poor or fair and 44% of the state's bridges as deficient. Do you believe the state should increase the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to fund all of the state's needed road repairs or should the state raise the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes only to repair storm damaged roads?

     59%  Repair Both
     32%  Repair Storm Damage Only 
      9% Don't Know

25. It is estimated by state and local officials that this year's total winter storm damage amounted to $500 million dollars. It is also estimated that the state needed $375 million dollars in road and bridge improvements before the storms. Together, this means that the state would need as much as a 15 cent a gallon increase in the gas tax. Would you support an increase in the gas tax of 15 cents a gallon to fund road and bridge improvements?

     48%  Yes  
     49%  No
      4%  Don't Know

The Keystone Poll is conducted by the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Millersville University for KYW-TV3, Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Harrisburg Patriot. The telephone survey was conducted September 28-30, 1996, among a random sample of adult Pennsylvanians. A total of 626 registered voters in Pennsylvania were interviewed (265 R; 310 D; 39 I and others). The sample error for the sample of voters is plus or minus 3.9%, but is larger for subgroups. The survey was weighted to reflect the known distribution of registered voters in the state.

Any use of this survey must indicate that it was conducted at Millersville University.