AASHTO Journal, 12 August 2016
A national poll released Aug. 9 by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers found that a majority of voters think roads and bridges are in “extreme” need of repair, and that half believe the federal government is primarily responsible for funding infrastructure repairs.
The findings were part of a poll commissioned by AEM to gauge voter attitudes about the current and future state of U.S. infrastructure amid a high-profile election. Both major party presidential candidates have said that if elected they were pursue major infrastructure investment programs.
AEM President Dennis Slater said: “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. 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.”
The association said it commissioned Morning Consult in June to conduct an online poll of 2,000 registered voters. It released a detailed analysis of the results, and issued a press release that summarized some of the findings.
“Roads and bridges top the list of sectors of the nation’s infrastructure in extreme need of repair, but registered voters also believe that repairs should be made to railways, dams and water pipelines,” the analysis said.
AEM said “a significant majority” of respondents, 80 to 90 percent, believe that roads, bridges and energy grids are in some or extreme need of repairs.
AEM reported that 68 percent say an increase in federal funding for infrastructure would have a positive impact on the economy. “This is true across party affiliation, with Democrats (72 percent), independents (65 percent) and Republicans (65 percent) all recognizing the positive impact on the economy as a result of greater federal funding for infrastructure,” it added.
As for funding those repairs, 49 percent consider the federal government mainly responsible, but majorities of 70 percent or more say all levels of government – state, local and federal – should be doing more to improve infrastructure across the board.
The survey found a notable difference in views based on the age of those responding.
“Across the board, older voters are more concerned with the current state of our nation’s infrastructure compared to younger voters. Specifically, 63 percent of 35-44 year-olds, 75 percent of 45-64 year-olds and 73 percent of those 65 and older rated U.S. roads as fair of poor, while only 55 percent of 18-34 year-olds expressed the same concern.”