A new poll conducted by Landmark Communications by WSB TV shows the majority of Georgia voters are not in favor of raising taxes to pay for transportation.
Of the 800 polled this week, just over 60 percent say they do not support increasing the gas tax to fund maintenance of existing roads and bridges. It showed 23 percent would support it while 16 percent were undecided.
When asked if they would support a one cent statewide sales tax to raise the money, only 32 percent said they would while 52 percent said they would oppose it and 15 percent were undecided.
The numbers get a bit closer when asked if they would support an increase in the gas tax if was offset by a reduction in the income tax rate; 35 percent said they would support while 31 percent would oppose it and nearly 33 percent were undecided.
As for mass transit, the poll shows nearly 41 percent of voters believe some of those funds should be spent on mass transit improvements while 37 percent think they should only be spent on improving roads. The other 22 percent were undecided.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle agrees with Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston that it will likely take more than one option to come up with the estimated $1 billion needed just for maintenance and repair.
“I think that’s incumbent upon us as leaders to really cast a vision of where we need to be and then match that revenue stream up with what voters are willing to contribute to that,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
While Cagle has been a supporter of mass transit, he is not sure it will be included in the funding initiative this legislative session.
“With transit, there needs to be a broader discussion of governance and how that governance is going to look like; the branding component of it; and a real plan that fulfills the objective that we need,” he says.
He does believe MARTA will have an opportunity to expand in the next ten years and become a commuter option for those outside the metro area.