America’s mayors consider infrastructure investment a high priority, according to a study released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Siemens USA, and conducted by The Harris Poll.

From public works projects to filling potholes, repairing roads, solid waste management, and other projects, mayors from small to large cities and across all regions argue that investing in infrastructure to generate jobs and economic growth are the top immediate (69%) and long-term (71%) priorities.

The study, “Infrastructure, Technology and Mayors’ Priorities for Confronting a Health, Economic and Societal Crisis” finds that even though infrastructure investment and job growth are priorities, COVID-19 has had detrimental impacts on city operating budgets.

Nearly all mayors (98%) expect their city’s operating budget to decline over the next 12 to 18 months, with 2 in 3 (66%) attributing all or most of the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these mayors agree that infrastructure improvements are necessary to support a strong recovery and a more resilient future.

This new study supports a push for federal assistance to states and localities, an initiative that ASCE (which announced the study) and many other transportation organizations have advocated for fervently.

The vast majority of mayors agree that the federal government should be doing more: 94% agree that the federal government should provide emergency fiscal relief for America’s cities to mitigate the budget shortfalls resulting from COVID-19’s impact on their local economies and 86% say that without financial assistance from the federal government, the ability of their city’s economy to bounce back will be significantly delayed.

Earlier this summer, the National League of Cities reported that over 700 cities will need to delay or cancel capital investments in infrastructure due to the pandemic. Delays of this magnitude will have a long-term impact on the state of our nation’s infrastructure. State and local revenues have been decimated and this will constrain their ability to keep up with road maintenance and address unbudgeted crises. On a parallel path, American families are paying a hidden tax of $9 dollars a day because of our D+ outdated, unreliable infrastructure, ASCE says.

Click here to view the full report online and here for downloadable executive summary (PDF).

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