UI McClure Center Releases Highway Survey Results

Tuesday, July 8 2014

BOISE, Idaho – July 8, 2014 – The University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research today released the results of a statewide public opinion survey designed to measure public attitudes about the condition of Idaho’s roads and bridges and how to fund maintaining this critical infrastructure. The telephone survey of Idaho likely voters was conducted from February through April by the UI’s Social Science Research Unit (SSRU). The McClure Center fully funded the survey.

"As is the case in many other states, Idaho policy makers face challenges related to managing and funding public highway infrastructure,” said Priscilla Salant, interim director of the UI McClure Center. “Revenue to support highway maintenance and capital improvements is flat or declining in real terms, while the use of this infrastructure and the costs to maintain it are increasing. The McClure Center’s role is to provide credible, unbiased public opinion data and analysis about these issues. Our hope is that the results of the study will help inform sound decision making as Idaho’s leaders make hard choices about how to fund road and bridge infrastructure.”

“We are very fortunate to have the McClure Center conducting a survey to find out how the public feels about funding roads and bridges,” said Senator Bert Bracket, Chair of the Idaho State Senate Transportation Committee. “We are getting an impartial, transparent product produced by a third party. The McClure Center is an honest broker with high credibility.” 

The study revealed that roughly half of likely voters believe that increasing funding for roads and bridges should be among the state legislature’s top three priorities. The survey revealed five key findings among likely Idaho voters: 

1. Likely voters generally think roads and bridges are adequate today, but won’t be ten years from now. 

2. Almost all likely voters see a relationship between the economy and roads and bridges. 

3. Roughly half said that increasing funding for roads and bridges should be among the Idaho State Legislature’s top three priorities. 

4. A substantial majority of likely voters are more likely to support increased funding for roads and bridges due to safety and economic concerns and are not dissuaded from supporting increased funding because it might increase taxes or lead to government waste.

5. Likely voters expressed the most support for funding sources that are the least likely to generate significant levels of funding.

“The study shows that virtually all likely voters in Idaho make a connection between transportation and the economy.  And, a solid majority say the existing roads and bridges in Idaho will not be adequate ten years from now. The key policy question is where to find revenue to pay for what Idaho’s voters clearly see as important,” said Salant.

Complete survey results and methodology are available in SSRU’s technical report on the McClure Center’s website: www.uidaho.edu/mcclurecenter.

Gemma Gaudette
University Communications

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