National poll sees wide support for infrastructure spending

But who should foot most of the bill is not as clear


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'The American people are saying loudly and clearly they want their elected leaders to spend more on infrastructure,' says Dr. Edward Summers,of Long Island University.

Americans overwhelmingly support a greater investment in infrastructure and believe that infrastructure spending stimulates the economy. However, Americans are far more mixed on which level of government is primarily responsible for infrastructure and the role of public-private partnerships.

Those are among the findings of a newly released poll from the Long Island University Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis. The poll of 1,037 Americans was conducted Feb. 14-15.

The national poll showed that 72 percent of Americans agree that more investment in infrastructure is needed, with 16 percent describing the current state of infrastructure as “excellent or good” and 75 percent describing it as “fair or poor.”

There is partisan disagreement over the state of infrastructure, however. Some 27 percent of Republicans describe the state of infrastructure as poor, while 50 percent of Democrats feel that way.

But, as Congress prepares to debate infrastructure and the Trump administration’s proposal – which calls for almost all of the proposed $1.5 trillion investment to be funded by state and local government and private investment – there are stark differences on where Americans see the responsibility to fund infrastructure.

Forty percent of Americans believe that the federal government is primarily responsible for funding infrastructure, while 39 percent believe that state or local governments are primarily responsible, with the remainder having no opinion or saying private investors.

Similarly, 42 percent of Americans say that projects should be funded through public-private partnerships, while 35 percent said they believe they should be funded solely through government. Six percent said that projects should solely be funded through the private sector.

“The American people are saying loudly and clearly they want their elected leaders to spend more on infrastructure,” said Dr. Edward Summers, fellow at the Hornstein Center. “They are not wedded to how that spending is done, and see a role at all levels of government as well as the private sector.”

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