Local Priorities for Infrastructure: What Do Local Governments Want?

chart of local government infrastructure spending priorities


June 2021
Michael Hotard
Nathan Lee
Publication Documents

Local governments are responsible for a large share of infrastructure spending in the United States, but leaders at the local level have been relatively absent from the ongoing discussions in Washington about a possible infrastructure bill. CivicPulse surveyed 413 elected policymakers from counties, cities, and townships across the United States to ask what they thought should be included in any potential infrastructure bill, as well as what issues they considered important when thinking about infrastructure projects. The key takeaways are:


  • Support was highest for funding for roads and bridges, as well as water and wastewater (93% and 83% favored the inclusion of these in any infrastructure bill). 

  • Funding for the electricity grid and broadband also had high levels of support, each with 73% of policymakers favoring their inclusion in an infrastructure bill.

  • The majority of local policymakers also favor a bill that would include funding for ports, public buildings, clean energy, affordable housing, and home care and elderly care.

  • Policymakers from larger cities are more likely to support investments in ports (airports, ports, and waterways) and mass transit than their counterparts in smaller jurisdictions.

  • Democrats and Republicans are split on their support for including funding for clean energy and electric car infrastructure.

  • The top issues that local policymakers consider for infrastructure projects are public safety, business development, and quality of life.

  • 40% of policymakers believe that racial equity and economic inequality are very important issues when considering an infrastructure project, but this view is divided along party lines.