Infrastructure has long been heralded as a bipartisan issue. A new poll out today from the Value of Water further proves this point, finding 88% of Americans voters agree: Now is the time to invest in the nation’s water infrastructure.
Among the key findings, four of five American voters (80%) say that rebuilding America’s infrastructure is extremely or very important, with nearly everyone saying it is at least somewhat important (96%). Infrastructure outstrips every other issue in this regard including ones often discussed more prominently in the news such as building a wall on the Mexican border, replacing Obamacare, and providing permanent resident status for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients.
The poll offers good indicators to elected officials and those running for office that voters view infrastructure investment as a positive. Support for investing in water infrastructure cut across age, gender, party, geography, and ideology. 66% of Republicans, 80% of Independents, and 88% of Democrats agree that investing in our water infrastructure is either extremely or very important.
In the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, Drinking Water received a grade of “D,” largely because of the aging system and need for increased investment. The poll also found that 75% of ratepayers would be willing to pay a modest increase in local water rates to fund improved service.
The poll was released as part of the annual Water Week, which featured a Fly-In event in Washington, DC that was co-hosted by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation, the Water Research Foundation , and others. The opening plenary session included remarks from EPA’s Assistant Administrator of the Office of Water, David Ross, who discussed EPA’s “war on lead” in their ongoing lead and copper in water rule, as well as the two-part effort to rescind and replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Directors from four offices within EPA’s Office of Water spoke on a panel about the agency’s recent successes and priorities, including the $600 million increase in funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs in the recently passed FY18 omnibus. Water Week participants heard updates from and posed questions to professional staff members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, and the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. These professional staffers confirmed the ongoing work being done in Congress to develop a Water Resources Development Act of 2018, a Farm Bill of 2018, an energy package, and a comprehensive infrastructure bill. Participants spent the afternoon advocating on Capitol Hill for water resources infrastructure priorities.