AAA poll results on transportation, safety issues

Published: Mar/Apr 2003

More than 3,000 AAA members responded to the poll in the January/February issue of the “AAA Midwest Traveler.” Both state and federal legislators are being advised by AAA of the opinions expressed by AAA members in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Indiana who responded to the poll.

Members’ feelings on the issues were:

HIGHWAY PROBLEMS/PRIORITIES

When asked how they would allocate $100 of the highway users fees they pay (registration and fuel taxes) among selected transportation improvements in their area, they answered that they would spend their $100 this way:

Maintaining and/or expanding existing roads $60
New roads 17
Public transit 16
Bicycle/pedestrian projects 7

And how are the state roads rated?

Excellent 1%
Good 26
Fair 50
Poor 23

And have roadway conditions improved in the past three years?

Improved 21%
Same 40
Worsened 39

When asked to rate their highest highway improvement from among several, they rated as their highest priority:

Resurfacing existing four-laned roads. 35%
Four-laning two-laned roads 23
Eliminating commuter bottlenecks 20
Increased use of road safety features .16
Widening of secondary bridges 6

HIGHWAY FUNDING

So, if so many folks are unhappy with the road system, are they willing to pay more taxes to improve the situation? To the question, “If asked to vote on a state motor fuel tax increase to raise revenue for highway maintenance and improvements, which way would you vote?” They said:

For 53%
Against 47

Among those who would support a fuel tax increase, their support erodes rapidly when the increase gets above 5 cents. In fact, 72 percent said a 2-to-5-cent increase is all they’ll tolerate.

2–3 cents 34%
4–5 cents 38

TOLLS

Tolling strikes a sour note among motorists. Gauging attitudes on proposals about tolls, the overwhelming response was negative. In fact, 65 percent opposed putting tolls on existing toll-free roads; 73 percent were against charging tolls on congested roadways to reduce the number of vehicles during peak periods; 76 percent didn’t want federal or state motor fuel tax revenue used to construct new toll roads; and they objected (72 percent) to using state gas taxes to guarantee toll road bonds.

VEHICLE CHOICES

When asked to assess what has strong influence on their purchase of a new vehicle, they said:

Cost 54%
Safety features 42
Performance 36
Size 37
Fuel efficiency 35
Style 17

With fuel prices up and continued concern about the environment, what would motorists accept to improve fuel economy and reduce auto emissions? They say:

Fewer choices in vehicle styles and brands 34%
Smaller vehicles 18
Lighter vehicles 17
None of the selections 13
Reduced performance 9
Higher vehicle price 8

One way to improve fuel economy is to have the federal government impose increased fuel economy standards, and 80 percent say that’s OK with them.

SAFETY CONCERNS

Of the five safety concerns motorists were asked to select from, aggressive drivers leads the list. Their concerns are:

Aggressive drivers 25%
Distracted drivers 24
Large trucks 22
Drunk drivers 17
Road conditions 12



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