From the Beltway to Bertha, it's taken for granted that American voters want to spend more not just to repair but to "improve" roads and bridges, meaning expensive new and expanded highways. It's assumed their only objection is that they don't want to have to pay higher gas taxes. There's only one problem: Like the mythical American love affair with cars, there's little evidence of an American craving for new highways.
Following in the footsteps of Massachusetts voters last fall, Michigan voters recently rejected a gas tax increase. This reaction from Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI), who pushed the tax hike referendum, caught my eye:
"While voters didn't support this particular proposal, we know they want action taken to maintain and improve our roads and bridges," Snyder said.
We hear that spoken as fact from politicians and political commentators all the time, but how do we know that? Is that really true? And what if it's not?...