Exclusive poll shows Michiganders want roads fixed - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Exclusive poll shows Michiganders want roads fixed

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MICHIGAN (WJRT) - (05/25/14) - If you could hand the state of Michigan a to-do list, what would be on the top? Brand new poll results say improving crumbling roads tops that list.

The results come to us from an exclusive poll by EPIC-MRA.

We chatted with a few people enjoying Memorial Day festivities Monday afternoon and they agree with the poll - our roads are in trouble.

"The roads are terrible," said Mike Hoeft, president of the local American Bikers Aiming Toward Education group.

Michigan drivers are sending up an SOS.

"We go to other states and ride and the roads are much, much better," Hoeft said.

He says for bikers, rocky roads aren't just a pain - they're life-threatening.

"A guy was killed last week in Baldwin, hit a pothole, lost control of his bike and was killed," he said.

Ideas are on the table to raise money for our roads, such as increasing the sales tax by 1 percent to 7 percent.

Brian Bach is a bicycle rider from Troy, Mich. He says somehow, these roads need to be fixed.

"It just makes it more unpleasant as a bike rider because you want to experience the thrill of the ride, and if you have to watch the road instead of experiencing the outdoors, it isn't as much fun," Bach said.

ABC12 News teamed up with EPIC MRA, the Detroit Free Press and three other Michigan television stations to find out what is concerning people most right now.

The poll, conducted May 12-17, surveyed 600 people and has an error rate of +/- 4%.

Here's a look at what concerns those survey respondents most right now:

29% Improving the condition of roads and bridges
6% Controlling crime and drugs
6% Keeping state and local taxes low
16% Improving the quality of education and increasing funding
7 %Providing affordable health care for everyone
2% Addressing the Detroit bankruptcy
3% Protecting our air and water
18% Improving the state economy and creating more jobs
13% Controlling government spending
-- Undecided/Refused

Our polling partners also asked about, "Turning to other issues, based on recent revenue estimates, there may be a state budget surplus this year. If there is a surplus, which one of the following purposes do you think the single largest amount of funding from a state budget surplus should be used for?"

Here are the responses:

51 % Increased funding for the maintenance and repair of state and local roads
4% Increased funding placed into the budget stabilization, rainy day fund
25% Increased funding for K through 12 education
2% Increased funding for Michigan's 15 public universities
13% A tax cut for Michigan taxpayers
4% Increased funding for revenue sharing for local communities
-- None of the above (volunteered)
1% Undecided/Refused

The survey also allowed survey respondents to weigh in on how we should pay to fix the roads. One question read, "As a way of providing up to $1.2 billion in additional, new funding for improvements and repairs to Michigan roads that experts say is needed, there may be a proposal on a future election ballot that would increase the state sales tax by 1 cent from its current 6 cents for every dollar spent to purchase goods, excluding food and drugs, to 7 cents, with all of the funding from the 1 cent increase dedicated for road repairs and improvements. If this proposal were placed on the ballot and the election were held today, would you vote YES to increase the sales tax by 1 cent to increase funding for roads, or, would you vote NO to oppose it?"

Here are the answers:

52% Total Vote Yes
44% Total Vote No
4% Undecided/Refused

Another option to pay to fix our roads would change the way gas is taxed. The question read like this, "The Michigan Legislature is considering another a proposal that would increase funding for road repair and improvements by more than $400 million. The proposal would repeal the current 19 cents per gallon sales tax on regular gasoline and 15 cents per gallon on diesel fuel and replace it with a 6 percent sales tax on the wholesale price of both types of gasoline. Another provision would earmark 1 percent of the 6 percent use tax collected on transportation funding to provide almost $250 million for roads. This plan would also double the fines for overweight trucks. Based on what you know or have heard or read about this plan, do you favor or oppose this proposal?"

Here are the responses:

48% Total Favor
30% Total Oppose
22% Undecided/Refused

Our polling partners also asked about a new fee system. The question was, "Some people have suggested that a good way to provide the increased funding needed to improve and repair the roads is to change to a system where motorists pay a new fee that would be based on several factors, including the number of miles they drive, the time of day they travel, the route taken and the weight of the vehicle they drive. Based on this description and what you may know or have heard or read about such an approach that is under study, do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?"

Here are the answers:

18% Total Good Idea
77% Total Bad Idea
5% Undecided/Refused

Finally survey respondents were asked, "Another proposal recently discussed as a way to provide increased funding for road repairs and improvements in Michigan would be to convert several interstate highways in Michigan to toll roads? Do you favor or oppose this proposal?"

Here are their answers:

38% Total Favor
55% Total Oppose
7% Undecided
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