With Many Believing Life in The City is in Decline, Americans Want More Infrastructure

With Many Believing Life in The City is in Decline, Americans Want More Infrastructure

Washington, DC — In a country that often seems distressingly polarized, Americans are united around one thing: They are eager for the federal government to renew the infrastructure that makes the nation and its cities work.

More than 90 percent of Americans want the federal government to invest in building — and rebuilding — the infrastructure around them, finds a recent icitizen/CityAge poll. The survey of 1,356 Americans also found a clear majority want billions of dollars to be primarily invested in roads and highways, proof that time in the car and commuting remain deciding factors in how many Americans measure their quality of life.

In order of priority, respondents said that infrastructure dollars should be spent on: more highways (27 percent), bridges and tunnels (25 percent), public transit (16 percent), high speed rail (11 percent), seawalls to deal with climate change (five percent), parks (two percent). Airports, city-wide Wi-Fi and airport renewal were all tied at one percent.

The poll also found three out of four Americans support U.S. President Donald Trump’s promise to spend up to $1 trillion on infrastructure, most of it in and around cities.

“The unity of Americans around investing in infrastructure is clear in the data,” said Leslie Rich, SVP, Client Success and Custom Research at icitizen. “This is a significant and popular public policy that all level of governments can advance with much bipartisan support.”

Still, the survey also found many Americans remain unconvinced President Trump can deliver on the infusion of infrastructure dollars and projects he promises.

The icitizen poll found 50 percent of those surveyed believe the federal government would make investing in cities a lower priority than during the Obama years. Only one in four of those surveyed believe investing in cities would be a greater priority for the federal government under the Trump administration. The clear majority of those surveyed — 86 percent — do not think the federal government has a strong commitment to investing in cities.

That pessimism coincides with a deep sense that life in America’s cities is getting worse. More than half (53 percent) of respondents believe that life in America’s city is in decline. Only 22 percent viewed urban life as improving.

“It’s clear Americans understand they have an infrastructure deficit in their cities that they believe is degrading the quality of their lives, and they want investment in infrastructure to improve their cities,” said Miro Cernetig, co-founder of CityAge, which is holding The New American City leadership forum in Washington, D.C., on June 14th at the National Press Club.

“It’s also clear Americans want President Trump and the US Congress to follow through on the promise to build — and re-build — the country’s infrastructure. They just aren’t sure the federal government can deliver on that important promise.”

More results from the icitizen/CityAge poll will be released in coming days, in the run up to the CityAge: The New American City conference in Washington, D.C., on June 14th.

The survey was conducted online from March 6 – April 26, 2017 among 1,356 Americans nationwide. To achieve an accurate demographic representation of the public, the data were weighted to U.S. Census benchmarks for gender, age, race, education, region and national benchmarks for party identification. The margin of error for the full sample is 2.6 percentage points, and is higher for subgroups.


icitizen is a non-partisan, online polling and data analytics company that seeks connects citizens with their elected officials, candidates and the organizations, schools and companies that affects their lives. By strengthening relationships online, they can build stronger communities offline.


CityAge is a non-partisan platform that holds forums across North America, Asia and Europe to bring together the leaders in business, government, research and society that are building the future. The CityAge network now consists of more than 5,000 leaders in the business of city building.