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62% Lack Confidence Government Will Spend New Infrastructure Money the Right Way

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Americans send fairly positive signals about the roads they drive and the bridges they cross, and for all the talk of infrastructure spending from Washington, DC, most aren’t confident that the new money will make things any better.

Just 37% of Adults, in fact, are at least somewhat confident that money spent by the government to repair highways, bridges and tunnels will be properly used, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. That includes only eight percent (8%) who are Very Confident. A sizable 62% lack confidence the infrastructure money will be spent the right way, with 19% who are Not At All Confident. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This is the same level of skepticism that Americans expressed in August 2009 when members of Congress were proposing that more stimulus money be spent on infrastructure projects.

Part of the skepticism may stem from ongoing unhappiness with efforts to ensure the safety of the nation’s infrastructure. Just 27% of adults believe U.S. bridges, tunnels and highways are properly inspected for safety. Thirty-three percent (33%) disagree and don’t think they’re property inspected. Forty-one percent (41%) aren’t sure.

Still, this is an improvement from August 2007 just after the collapse of a major interstate highway bridge in Minneapolis when only 20% thought infrastructure inspection was being properly done, while 39% disagreed. 

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans now believe infrastructure money should be spent on more inspections and needed repairs.  However, nearly one-in-four (23%) say the money would be better spent rebuilding all roads and bridges. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure which course is better. This reflects a slight shift in support to rebuilding over inspections and repairs from prior surveys.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on August 24-25, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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