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Most congressional hopefuls support federal infrastructure investment.

"Americans are concerned about the deteriorating condition of their highways bridges, mass transit systems, airports, waste water treatment plants, and solid waste facilities," said Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson last week as he released the results of a survey of candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives showing strong support for rebuilding America's infrastructure.

"Candidates also are getting the message that increasing our public investment in the nation's physical capital is the way to help bolster our ailing economy," said Jackson, chair of the Rebuild America Coalition, a coalition of public and private national organizations committed to reversing the decline in America's investment in infrastructure.

Responses (178) to the survey were evenly divided among Republican and Democratic candidates throughout the country and represent candidates in 36 percent of the upcoming 435 House races.

The survey of all candidates for seats in the House of Representatives found that 93 percent of the respondents believe that federal funding for infrastructure should be increased. Annual U.S. investment in infrastructure has fallen by 38 percent over the past two decades, while our nation's infrastructure facilities have been deteriorating.

The survey found that 91 percent of the respondents support easing IRS restrictions on the use of tax-exempt financing for infrastructure purposes and 69 percent support the creation of a new federal capital assistance program that would provide grants to states and localities to meet their infrastructure needs.

Ninety-seven percent of the respondents supported spend-down of the $30 billion in unobligated balances in the federal highway, transit and aviation trust funds. The survey showed overwhelming support (93 percent) for continued federal funding of state revolving loan funds to provide low-interest loans for wastewater treatment facilities and the establishment (89 percent) of a federal capital budget that would make it easier to plan and account for long-term public investment.

The results show divided opinion on whether or not to increase the federal gasoline tax to pay for needed transportation improvements. Half the respondents (50 percent) said that they do not support increasing the federal gas tax further, while 38 percent said they feel that a tax hike is needed, and 12 percent were not sure.

Mayor Jackson expressed optimism that the survey results reflected an awareness of the need for infrastructure investment. "The results of our survey make me optimistic that the new Congress will move expeditiously to implement an aggressive infrastructure renewal plan when it begins its work in January," said Jackson.
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Author:Wollack, Leslie
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Oct 26, 1992
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