Strong Public Support for Investment in Infrastructure

Eight in 10 Americans believe investing in infrastructure will stimulate the economy and is vital for future growth, according to an Ipsos Global Advisor survey conducted in 27 countries in partnership with the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA). The survey is the largest of its kind looking at the public’s attitudes toward infrastructure and investment. It finds nearly two-thirds of Americans expecting the government to prioritize infrastructure investment when planning for post-COVID-19 recovery.

Americans’ views about infrastructure tend to be similar to those expressed across the world, except when it comes to foreign investment. The survey reveals a sharp decline in Americans’ support for foreign investment in infrastructure in the United States: only three in 10 are fine with it, compared to half of all those surveyed globally.  

Key takeaways from the 2020 Global Infrastructure Index:

  • 81% of Americans and 79% globally agree that investment in infrastructure will create new jobs and boost the economy.
  • 79% in the U.S. and across all 27 countries agree it is vital to the country’s future economic growth.  
  • 65% of Americans say that as a country, the U.S. is not doing enough to meet infrastructure needs, a higher percentage than on average globally (59%) and in G8 countries (57%).
  • 62% of Americans and 68% globally believe the government should prioritize infrastructure investment as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery.

Only 30% of Americans say they are comfortable with foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure if that would improve its quality, down 13 points from 2019 and now the lowest percentage among all countries surveyed; 34% of Americans disagree, up from 23% in 2019. Globally, 52% agree.

Investment in water supply and sewage (51%) stands out as a top priority among Americans, with solar energy infrastructure (45%) and the local road network (45%) rounding out the top three from a list of 15.

At 30%, satisfaction with infrastructure in the United States is down seven points from last year (37%), but is comparable to the 28% level seen in 2018; Americans’ satisfaction is lower than the global average (43%), the European average (39%), and the G8 average (36%).

In terms of priorities for investment, the largest year-on-year increases have been for water supply/sewerage (up 13 points) and sidewalks, footpaths and pedestrian areas (up 12 points), and digital infrastructure such as high-speed broadband (up 10 points).

More agree (63%) than disagree (8%) that they are fine with private sector investment in infrastructure if it means the United States can get the infrastructure it needs.

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