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US Voters Register Infrastructure Concerns

Friday, August 12, 2016

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Nearly half of registered U.S. voters believe the country’s infrastructure has gotten worse over the last five years, according to a recent poll conducted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

Moreover, a strong majority of voters say roads and bridges are in “extreme” need of repair, AEM announced when it released its analysis of the results Tuesday (Aug. 9).

Los Angeles roadways
© iStock.com / guli studio

Registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, agree that the declining state of U.S. infrastructure is an issue that should be addressed, according to an Association of Equipment Manufacturers survey.

AEM is a trade association for companies that manufacture equipment for the construction, utility, mining and agriculture industries.

‘Dire State’ of U.S. Infrastructure

AEM commissioned the national poll in an effort to gauge voter perceptions and attitudes about the current and future state of U.S. infrastructure during this high-profile election period.

Responses showed that, regardless of political affiliation, registered voters agree that the declining state of the nation’s infrastructure is an issue that should be addressed.

The pool of respondents also believe the federal government should do more to improve infrastructure across the board.

“Americans across the political spectrum understand the dire state of U.S. infrastructure and believe that the federal government should do more to improve our infrastructure,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM.

infrastructure poll results
Association of Equipment Manufacturers

A majority of voters say roads and bridges are in “extreme” need of repair, poll results showed.

“Voters recognized that increased federal funding for assets such as roads, bridges, and inland waterways will have a positive impact on the economy, and they are looking to the federal government to repair and modernize,” Slater added.

Key Findings

Conducted in June, the poll of 2,000 registered voters identified that:

  • 46 percent of registered voters believe that the state of the nation’s infrastructure has gotten worse in the last five years;
  • 80–90 percent say that roads, bridges and energy grids are in some or extreme need of repairs;
  • 49 percent feel the federal government is primarily responsible for funding repairs to the nation’s infrastructure; and
  • 70 percent say increasing federal funding for infrastructure will have a positive impact on the economy.

When it comes to ranking areas where innovations for the future are most important, respondents viewed the top three as:

  • Water infrastructure (86 percent);
  • Solar powered homes (83 percent); and
  • Smart infrastructure (82 percent).

Political affiliation had little impact on voters’ feelings toward whether the federal government should do more to improve the nation’s overall infrastructure. Results showed that 68 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Independents and 76 percent of Democrats agreed that it should.

Voters expect more from governments across the board as well, AEM found:

  • 76 percent of those surveyed want more from state governments;
  • 72 percent are looking to the federal government to do more; and
  • 70 percent expect more from local governments.

Influencing Action

The AEM is hopeful the poll will provide guidance to both lawmakers and candidates in developing their long-term infrastructure plans, political website The Hill wrote.

“Both presidential nominees have voiced their strong support for infrastructure investment,” said Ron De Feo, CEO of Kennametal and chairman of AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative.

“The specific ideas and proposals they offer over the next 90 days will be critically important, and voters should consider them carefully on Election Day.”

In November, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton revealed her intention to increase federal investment in infrastructure by $275 billion over the next five years. Of that, $250 billion will reportedly be slated directly toward work on roads, airports and public transit.

A national infrastructure bank would be created with the remaining $25 billion. The bank is expected to promote private investment in projects and would "support an additional $225 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees, and other forms of credit enhancement," a campaign aide said at the time.

Together, the proposal could direct $500 billion in new infrastructure funding into the nation’s projects.

This new federal spending would be on top of "what the Congress should finally get around to authorizing," Clinton added.

Earlier this month, Republican nominee Donald Trump announced that his infrastructure spending plan would at least double the amount Clinton cited.

Although he hasn’t laid out specifics related to his infrastructure spending plan, Trump explained that his scenario including funding supported by government bonds purchased by private investors and the nation’s citizens.

The national poll was conducted as part of AEM’s ongoing efforts to develop a long-term national vision for U.S. infrastructure.

The association’s analysis of the national poll results is available here.

   

Tagged categories: Association of Equipment Manufacturers; Bridges; Equipment manufacturers; Industry surveys; Infrastructure; Locks and dams; Rail; Roads/Highways; Trends

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