Energy

Nearly Half of Urban Voters Think State Governments Should Decide How Funding From Infrastructure Law Is Spent

Another 36% say the federal government should primarily choose where the money goes

(Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Ashley Berry)

What Urban Voters Want From the Infrastructure Law

A new special report from Morning Consult explores the priorities of urban voters when it comes to climate change and infrastructure, as funds from the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law are doled out across the country. The data is drawn from a survey of 1,062 urban U.S. voters. Explore the full series.

Urban voters are more likely to say that governors and state governments — rather than the federal government — should have the most responsibility in deciding how the funding from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law should be used, according to a recent Morning Consult survey, as the Biden administration and Republican lawmakers butt heads over who gets to decide how the money is spent.

Almost Half of Urban Voters Think State Governments Should Be Responsible for Dispersing Infrastructure Funding

Share of urban voters who said the following entities should have the most responsibility in deciding how funding from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law should be used:

Survey conducted Feb. 19-20, 2022, among a representative sample of 1,062 urban voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. Don’t know/No opinion responses are not shown.
What the numbers say
  • Forty-seven percent of urban voters said governors and state governments should have the most responsibility in deciding how funding from the infrastructure law should be used, while 36 percent said the federal government should be more responsible.
  • Urban female voters felt more strongly that state governments should choose where funding from the infrastructure law is spent, while urban male voters were divided about which government entity should be most responsible for allocating the money. 
  • Roughly equal shares of urban white voters (48 percent) and urban voters of color (46 percent) said state governments should get to decide how the infrastructure funding is spent.
Background

The survey results come as the Biden administration and GOP lawmakers are at loggerheads about how the funding from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law should be spent and who is responsible for choosing which projects get cash. One particular point of contention is whether funding should go toward the expansion of highways, with a Federal Highway Administration memo recommending that states prioritize the improvement of existing roads and highways rather than adding additional lanes.

In January, 16 GOP governors penned a letter to President Joe Biden, asking for states to have more authority in how the infrastructure funds are used. And last month, Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) wrote a letter to governors, suggesting that they ignore the FHWA’s guidance for how they should use the funds.

A Department of Transportation spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal that the White House intends for states to have flexibility regarding how they use infrastructure funds for highways.

 

The Feb. 19-20, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,062 urban voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.