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News » US » HNTB finds most Americans willing to pay more for transportation infrastructure » published 13 Sep 2017

HNTB finds most Americans willing to pay more for transportation infrastructure

A survey by HNTB Corporation has found that the majority of Americans are willing to pay more to rebuild and grow transportation infrastructure.

73% support the use of P3s Above: 73% support the use of P3s

The latest America Thinks survey, ‘Paying for Infrastructure – 2017’, found powerful support for higher taxes and tolls when revenues are guaranteed for infrastructure. Public-private partnerships seen as part of solution.

Seven in 10 Americans were found to be willing to pay increased taxes and tolls to fund transportation infrastructure, with the number rising to 84% if the funds are guaranteed by law are for use only toward infrastructure.

Public-private partnerships (P3s) for transportation infrastructure were supported by more than seven in 10 of respondents. Fifty-two% believe the responsibility for funding maintenance and building new transportation infrastructure should be shared by the government and private sector.

A majority of people – 59% - were willing to pay tolls to avoid congestion and 80% said that they support tolling of existing highways and interstates.

“Americans value mobility and are willing to pay more to maintain and grow transportation infrastructure, especially if they know how their money will be used,” said Kevin Hoeflich, HNTB toll services chairman and senior vice president.

He added: “P3s are in the news as an increasingly popular option for funding new projects,” said Hoeflich. “However, the deals must be structured properly so the public gets the best return on its investment in infrastructure. We can expect to see more of them as the sources of traditional funding are under pressure.”

The desire to avoid congestion and save time is behind the willingness of almost six in 10 Americans (59%) to pay a toll, even when a free alternative is available, according to the HNTB survey. Of these respondents, 57% are willing to pay an average of US$1.70 to use a priced managed lane, also called express lanes, if that would save 15-30 minutes of time, avoid congestion and provide a predictable travel time.

The conversion of general-purpose interstate lanes to priced managed lanes is supported by 77% of survey respondents. Among this group, 50% believe reducing congestion is the most important reason for this conversion, an increase from 43% from the same question asked in a 2016 HNTB survey.

“People are frustrated spending time stuck in traffic, and they want solutions. They are concerned about how congestion contributes to traffic fatalities,” Hoeflich said. “Priced managed lanes offer a promising solution to both congestion and funding by providing a choice to get out of traffic. The public has demonstrated a willingness to pay to use them in many urban areas.”

 HNTB’s survey found eight in 10 support adding tolls to existing highways and interstates. When asked how those toll revenues should be used, reducing congestion was cited by 41% of respondents; improving safety, 40%; adding vehicle capacity, 34%; and adding transit capacity, 21%. Twenty percent of respondents would never support tolls on existing highways/interstates.

The survey also found two-thirds of respondents (66%) support tolls to fund critical infrastructure projects if there are insufficient funds from other sources.

The concept of reduced toll rates for low-income users is supported by more than three in four Americans (76%).

“Most importantly, there is growing recognition of tolls as a source of revenue that can help fund decades of neglect of maintenance and operations, system improvements and other critical transportation needs,” said Hoeflich.

 

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This article was published on 13 Sep 2017 (last updated on 13 Sep 2017).

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