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|Majority of NH Would Support 10-Cent Gas Tax Hike|
|Published Wednesday, October 25, 2017|
More than 60 percent of NH residents would support a 10-cent increase to the state gas tax if needed to maintain NH’s highways and bridges, according to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of NH in Durham. However, most people have no idea what the gas tax is presently and only 36 percent of those polled are aware of the worsening conditions of the Granite State’s transportation infrastructure.
Both awareness of infrastructure conditions and willingness to support gas tax increases to maintain the state’s highways and bridges vary by party. Independents are more likely to support gas tax increases up to 20 cents per gallon and Democrats up to 30 cents. A majority of Republicans would support an increase up to five cents. Tea Party supporters do not approve of any tax increase.
“Although most New Hampshire residents depend on the state’s transportation infrastructure, only a minority have noticed it is challenged by aging structures, increasing demand, a changing vehicle mix and rising stormwater threats,” the researchers state. “The money coming in is insufficient to support current infrastructure or to update and keep ahead of anticipated changes. There needs to be greater public discussion that raises awareness of the problems and the need for solutions.”
The researchers also found that 51 percent support increased spending on public transportation and 42 percent support more spending on highway maintenance and environmental protection. Disaster preparation and stormwater management were lower priorities for those polled, with many people admitting they do not know about these topics.
The research was conducted by Linda Fogg, sociology graduate student; Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and a senior fellow at the Carsey School; and Erin Bell, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Their full report can be found at carsey.unh.edu/publication/transportation-tax.
The Carsey School of Public Policy conducts research, leadership development, and engaged scholarship relevant to public policy.
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