WASHINGTON (CNN) - More than half of all Americans are worried about the collapse of a bridge somewhere in the United States. That, according to a new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday.
But only one in three Americans are concerned that a bridge that they drive across regularly will collapse. 69 percent are not worried.
The new numbers come just eight days after an interstate highway bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed into the Mississippi River. At least five people were killed in the collapse.
Only one third of those we polled favor increasing the tax on gas to pay for bridge inspections and repairs. The federal program to inspect and repair bridges is funded mostly by the federal tax on gasoline. 65 percent of those we questioned are against raising that tax.
CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says, “Polls sometimes show that the public is willing to accept higher taxes to pay for popular projects, but not in this case. With the price of gasoline hovering around three dollars, it may not be surprising that Americans don't want to pay any more at the pump, even though they worry about bridge safety.”
At a news conference Thursday morning at the White House, President Bush dismissed raising the federal gasoline tax at least until Congress changes the way it spends highway money.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser