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Poll: Strong Bipartisan Support for Water Infrastructure Bill

Majority of voters want lame-duck Congress to pass WRDA and pipeline rehabilitation by in year-end

December 02, 2016

Photo: Felipe Santana

 

 

In the final weeks of the lame-duck session, a national poll released Friday by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) found that voters strongly support federal funding for water pipelines and waterways as well as for resources that prevent drinking water contamination crises, like those that occurred in Flint, MI.

The findings were part of a national poll commissioned by AEM to gauge voter perceptions and attitudes about United States water infrastructure broadly and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 specifically, a major water infrastructure resource authorization bill currently awaiting final passage in the lame-duck Congress.

 “Improving and modernizing U.S. infrastructure overall, and in this case, water infrastructure, continues to be a bipartisan priority among voters,” said Dennis Slater, AEM President. “Congressional leaders in both the U.S. Senate and House are to be commended for taking action on their respective versions of a 2016 WRDA bill, but should reach consensus on a final version before the 114th Congress adjourns.”

The national poll identified a number of key findings, including:

  • 54 percent of registered voters say that U.S. water infrastructure is in fair or poor condition.
  • 67 percent - nearly 7 out of 10 - of the surveyed population believe that the federal government should spend somewhat more or much more on water pipelines and waterways.
  • 74 percent - almost three-quarters - of registered voters either support or strongly support Congress passing WRDA.
  • 73 percent - a clear majority - of registered voters are either somewhat or much more likely to support WRDA when they learn that it might prevent drinking water crises such as the one in Flint, MI.

Detailed findings:

  • Flint weighs heavily on the minds of voters

Seven out of 10 (73 percent) registered voters said that they are more likely to support WRDA once they learn that it might prevent drinking water crises such as the one in Flint, MI. This is true across party lines, with Democrats (73 percent), Independents (72 percent) and Republicans (74 percent),indicating that repairs and updates to U.S. water and wastewater pipeline infrastructure area key consideration in their support for WRDA.

  • The Water Resources Development Act of 2016

While half (49 percent) of registered voters are not familiar with the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, more than seven out of 10 (74 percent) Americans support WRDA once they learn what the legislation entails.

Support for the legislation remains equally strong when registered voters are told that WRDA could authorize $10 billion in federal funding for the country’s water infrastructure system (71 percent), might prevent drinking water crises such as the one in Flint, MI (73 percent), and might help rehabilitate dams in hazardous condition (74 percent).

  • Strong bipartisan support to maintain and update water infrastructure

Upgrades to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, updates to U.S. waterways and ports, and assistance to states to address water resource needs enjoy strong support among both Democrats (76 percent), Independents (72 percent) and Republicans (75 percent).

The same holds true when it comes to support for increased federal and state funding, with Democrats (72 percent), Independents (70 percent) and Republicans (71 percent) in favor of the bill after they learn that it could authorize up to $220 million in funding to address drinking water contamination in U.S. communities.

The national poll was conducted as part of AEM’s ongoing efforts to develop a long-term national vision for U.S. infrastructure through its Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative.

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