State Fair Poll Shows Majority Favors Gas Tax Increase

House of Representative survey shows that 58% favor a dime increase specifically for bridges and roads.

More than 58% of those participating in the 2007 House of Representatives State Fair Poll support raising the state's gas tax by a dime if all the money goes toward state road and bridge improvements.

During the 12-day run of the Minnesota State Fair, 6,678 fairgoers took the poll conducted by nonpartisan House Public Information Services. It is an informal, unscientific survey on issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and may again be topics of discussion.

Since the Interstate 35W bridge collapse Aug. 1, there has been more talk about increased transportation funding, including a possible gas tax increase. A 7.5-cent increase was in the omnibus transportation finance bill vetoed by the governor earlier this year. The gas tax has been at 20 cents per gallon since 1988.

Last year, just 41% of polltakers supported a 10-cent per gallon increase in the state gasoline tax to fund transportation improvements; however, 53.6% of 2005 polltakers said yes to: "In general, do you support increasing the gas tax to fund road and bridge projects?"

While a gas tax increase may be palatable to the majority of polltakers, 48.7% do not support raising the state sales tax by three-eighths of 1% and dedicate the money to environment and arts funding. Nearly 42% said yes to the question based on bills passed by House and Senate in 2007. However, a conference committee convened on the session's final day to try to work out a compromise on allocating the money ran out of time.

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