States targeting transportation to help balance budgets

With state governments collectively facing $70-billion worth of deficits over the next year and a half, many legislatures are looking to cut transportation funds as a way to balance their budgets. A survey based on four months’ worth of telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Pew Center found that 61% of state legislators are eyeing transportation cuts as a way

With state governments collectively facing $70-billion worth of deficits over the next year and a half, many legislatures are looking to cut transportation funds as a way to balance their budgets.

A survey based on four months’ worth of telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Pew Center found that 61% of state legislators are eyeing transportation cuts as a way to balance their budgets. Only social service cuts (85%), health care cuts (71%), and prisons/correction department cuts (62%) rank higher, the survey found.

On the tax side, most legislators are looking at a variety of increases over the nest two years, with increases in tolls or user fees (66%) and raising state taxes on gasoline (43%) high on the list of options along with higher state corporate income taxes (40%) and increasing state sales taxes (39%).

"This survey gives an extraordinary insight into the difficult decisions legislators face during this trying budget year," said Ed Fouhy, executive director and editor of Stateline.org, which helped sponsor the study. "Unlike their counterparts in Washington, state lawmakers are unable to run budget deficits, magnifying each and every spending cut and tax increase.”

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