Bridging the gap: Americans want to rebuild infrastructure coast-to-coast

November 1, 2017

When real estate magnate Donald Trump became POTUS, many Americans assumed that the country’s crumbling infrastructure—bridges, highways, airports, power grids—would be on his radar and would become a high priority for improvement and reconstruction. However, nearly 10 months into his term, close to two-thirds (62%) of respondents to a recent poll— the “Ipsos 2017 Global Infrastructure Index”—believe that the nation is not doing enough to meet its infrastructure needs, according to results released on October 25.

Roughly three-quarters (73%) of Americans think investing in infrastructure is vital to America’s future economic growth, the researchers found. The release of this report coincides with the 9th North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum organized by CG/LA Infrastructure in partnership with Ipsos.

Frustration about the amount of attention given to infrastructure is higher in the United States, Ipsos found, than it is on average across the 28 countries surveyed (56%)—and higher than in all economically advanced nations, with the sole exception of Italy (63%).

Specifically, only 23% in Japan, 40% in France, and 50% in Canada say their country is not doing enough. Across the 28 countries surveyed by Ipsos, 37% of people are satisfied with their country’s infrastructure (up 4 percentage points from 2016), while 30% are dissatisfied.

The United States is very close to the global average, with 39% of Americans satisfied with the country’s infrastructure (up 3 points since 2016) versus 29% dissatisfied. However, many other developed countries show higher levels of satisfaction—in particular, Germany (53%), New Zealand (49%), and Japan (47%).

Overall, 68% of global respondents rate the quality of airports around the world as good. Conversely, only 30% of global respondents believe the current quality of flood defense structures is very or fairly good. Similarly, approval of nuclear infrastructure to generate energy is only at 32%, equivalent to very/fairly good.

Indeed, Americans are more likely to view water supply and sewage (cited by 48%), flood defenses (45%), energy-generation (excluding nuclear) (43%), and both local and major road networks (42% each) as priorities for investment in 2017. than new housing supply (21%) and rail infrastructure (27%) – than is the average global consumer. Flood defenses and high-speed broadband (26%) saw the highest year-to-year increase in prioritization in the U.S. (up 6 percentage points and 4 percentage points, respectively).

Older Americans are more concerned than the young about the water supply and road networks, and less about high-speed broadband. More affluent consumers are more prone to highlight energy generation and road networks, while the poorest care more than others about the new housing supply; – The water supply and sewage are the top concern in the West and South, flood defenses in the Northeast, and road networks in the Midwest.

Research contact: erin.morris@ipsos.com