Idahoans think that state and local governments aren’t spending enough on roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

And while nine out of 10 Idahoans think high-speed Internet is really important for the state’s development, they don’t want government to take over its operations, rather they want the private sector to continue providing broadband access and speed.

Those are just some of the results from a new Dan Jones & Associates poll undertaken for the on-line state politics site: Idaho Politics Weekly, sponsored by Zions Bank.

Across the U.S., some cities and counties have gotten into the business of providing Internet access, and/or regulating a private firm, like a water or electrical provider, as a monopoly.

Jones asked 803 registered Idaho voters several questions about the Internet, including whether it should be regulated as a monopoly, or if cities/counties should be providing the service themselves for a fee.

Jones polled May 4-12, and his survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percent.

By a slim majority, 51 percent, Idahoans DON’T want their Internet/Wi-Fi operations run by the government.

Thirty-seven said local governments should provide Internet access, and 12 percent didn’t know.

However, in some form or another, 51 percent said government should act to help provide access to the Internet and encourage high-speed Internet development.

Thirty-six percent said they opposed such government aid and 14 percent didn’t know.

It’s interesting to see how the latter question broke out by age of respondent:

  • Those age 18-29 favored government aid in access to high-speed Internet, 72-24 percent, with only 4 percent of the young adults not having an opinion.
  • Those 50-59 favored government aid by a plurality, 47-40 percent, with 12 percent not caring.
  • And for those over 70 years old -- and less likely to care much about the Internet or its speed -- government aid was favored, barely, 41-39 percent, with 20 percent saying they “didn’t know.”

One thing almost all Idahoans agreed upon is that high-speed Internet access is important to the development of the state.

Eighty-nine percent said it was “very” or “somewhat” important,” only 9 percent said it was not important and only 3 percent didn’t know.

So, get high-speed Internet to folks, but let the private market do it, even if the job needs some government help along the way.

On another topic, 49 percent of Idahoans say government funding for transportation infrastructure should be increased.

(The 2015 Idaho Legislature did increase the state gasoline tax.)

Thirty-one percent said road spending was “about right,” while 12 percent said the state and local governments were spending too much money on roads.

A plurality of Idahoans say spending on water development and sewage infrastructure is “about right.”

The numbers:

Asked if the spending on water infrastructure was too much, about right, or too little:

  • 7 percent said it was too much, 43 percent said about right, 34 percent said too little and 15 percent said they didn’t know.

Asked if spending on sewage infrastructure was too much, about right, or too little:

  • 7 percent said too much, 46 percent said about right, 28 percent said too little, and 18 percent didn’t know.

Finally, Jones asked registered voters if they supported or opposed a new law passed by the 2015 Idaho Legislature which outlaws cities and counties from banning ride-share operations, like Uber and Lift.

Those companies help private drivers, using their own cars, pick up and drop off patrons for a fee. While they act like taxicab firms, the ride-share operations often are not licensed by the state – at least not in the same fashion as taxicab firms.

Jones finds that 45 percent of Idahoans support the new law stopping cities from banning ride-sharing, 34 percent oppose the new law and 20 percent don’t know.

Breaking Idaho into three geographic regions, Jones finds that western Idaho – where Boise is located (ride-sharing functions best in larger cities) – 48 percent of those residents favor the new law allowing ride-sharing, 34 percent oppose and 18 percent didn’t have an opinion.