FREDERICKSBURG – A new statewide poll shows Virginians support Gov. Bob McDonnell’s $3.1 billion transportation plan by a margin of 63-30 percent. But put an asterisk beside those numbers.
“Virginia voters continues to express reluctance at increasing gas or sales taxes to fund the commonwealth’s transportation system, but they are warm on the idea of cutting the gas tax and instead paying a higher sales tax,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy, which conducted the poll.
Still, 52 percent of respondents oppose the governor’s proposal to increase the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent.
When given a choice of funding:
- 45 percent favored the sales tax increase.
- 34 percent supported adding tolls to new roads and bridges.
- 31 percent wanted an increase in the gas tax.
- 29 percent wanted money to be shifted from other parts of the budget.
- Just 28 percent wanted tolls raised on existing toll roads and bridges.
The poll by the Wason Center, a branch of Christopher Newport University, surveyed 1,015 registered voters Jan. 14-20. The margin of error was +/- 3.1 percent.
On a statewide tour to promote his road and transportation initiatives, McDonnell said in Roanoke Thursday morning:
“We are running out of money for any new construction in the years ahead. Our plan solves that problem.”
Fellow Republicans, as well as Democrats, have questioned that assertion, however, and several competing bills are pending at the General Assembly. For a rundown on those, read here.