Understanding Public Perceptions of Different Options to Fund the Highway System

The purpose of this research was to generate an understanding of the public perceptions of different revenue generation systems that are already in use or that have the potential to be used in the future, and to educate the public on the different revenue generation systems. In addition, this study tested a number of hypotheses that were focused on finding relationships (correlations) between the choice of funding options to support the highway system in the United States and the demographic information. A survey method was used to explore this topic. The survey instrument was sent to 15,945 people representing five states: Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming (Mountain-Plains Consortium states) via mail. Only 1,190 surveys were received, 27 were eliminated due to various issues, and 1,163 were posted as completed surveys, resulting in a response rate of 7.30%. Data analysis of the results consisted of performing descriptive and inferential statistics and running chi-square tests for correlation analysis. The results of this survey indicate that the public in the states of Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming selected “increasing the federal gas tax that is collected at the time of purchase” as its first choice of funding option. The support for the use of highway tolling to fund the highway system was somewhat moderate among the population across the five states. The collection of additional sales taxes on all goods to fund the highway system was an unpopular funding mechanism among the population in the five states. Similarly, the support for the use of mileage-based user fees was disliked among the population in the five states. This research is significant, as few studies have been done on understanding the public perceptions of different options to fund highway systems. Furthermore, the findings of this survey could be used by the lawmakers in the five states under study to make better decisions with respect to the alternative options of funding the highway system in their state based on the general public’s perceptions in the state. Future research could be aimed to study the impact of the utilized option on each state with regard to its social, economic, and behavioral issues that could result from its implementation.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Colorado State University, Fort Collins

    Department of Construction Management
    Fort Collins, CO  United States  80523-1584

    Colorado State University, Fort Collins

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Fort Collins, CO  United States  80525

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Albeiruti, Nasser T
    • Ozbek, Mehmet E
    • Atadero, Rebecca A
  • Publication Date: 2015-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 181p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01593703
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC 15-300
  • Created Date: Mar 16 2016 9:35AM