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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

March 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

New poll shows voter opposition to transportation tax package

A new poll by Stuart Elway shows most voters oppose the main taxes being considered by Democrats to help pay for transportation improvements, and that they feel the state’s transportation system is in pretty good shape.

Elway polled 412 registered voters between Feb. 28 and March 2. The poll has a 5 percent points, plus or minus, margin of error.

The poll found that 72 percent of the voters surveyed opposed a gas tax and 62 percent opposed a car tab. Those two taxes would provide most of the revenue collected under a transportation plan proposed by House Democrats.

Under the House Democrat’s nearly $10 billion proposal rolled out last month, the state would increase the state gas tax by 10 cents over five years, eventually reaching a total of 47.5 cents per gallon. Washington currently has the nation’s ninth-highest gas tax.

In addition, it would create a car-tab tax equal to 0.7 percent of a vehicle’s value — $140 for a $20,000 car.

Elway’s poll also found that 70 percent of the voters surveyed rated the state’s transportation system as “satisfactory” or better.

“Not surprisingly, given this view, voters placed higher priority on repairing and maintaining existing roads and bridges than expanding the system,” Elway wrote. “Predictably, most were disinclined to pay for any of it.”

He noted that “building support for any transportation tax package will have to be preceded by rebuilding the idea that the transportation system needs help.”

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