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Consumer Survey Highlights Infrastructure Concerns


Microdesk, a provider of business and technology consulting services, unveiled the results of its 2013 “State of the Industry” survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older.

The survey revealed Americans are keenly aware of the country’s failing infrastructure system.

“After a hard year in which Americans experienced the devastating effects of everything from hurricanes and tornados to bridge failures and train derailments, there is a strong awareness that our infrastructure system is in serious danger,” said Michael DeLacey, president, Microdesk. “Our consumer survey shows that Americans are looking for a combination of government leadership and funding, along with new technologies, to get U.S. infrastructure back on its feet.”

As America’s infrastructure system faces increased scrutiny, 41 percent of Americans believe that bridges will be most vulnerable to damage and decay. Twenty-six percent believe that roads will be most vulnerable.

Asked to provide insight on what three types of infrastructure systems should receive government funding, sentiment again heavily leaned toward bridges and roads. The results of where funding should go include:

  • Bridges (63 percent).
  • Roads (57 percent).
  • Energy systems (37 percent).

Americans, overwhelmingly concerned with bridges, believe the average age of U.S. bridges is 48 years old. The ASCE sites the average age is 42, indicating Americans may be overly cautious on bridge viability and recognize most are nearing the end of their typical 50-year design life.

Americans rank major infrastructure failures as their greatest infrastructure-related concern (32 percent), followed by tax increases due to repairs needed (20 percent).

Overwhelmingly, 93 percent of Americans feel that the government should play any primary role in helping guide U.S. infrastructure improvement.
    
While President Obama made unsuccessful attempts to call on lawmakers to approve funding this past year, the survey reveals a majority of Americans (41 percent) believe the lack of funding for proper maintenance is the greatest risk to the U.S. infrastructure system.

As concern mounts around major infrastructure failures, and the associated costs, Americans identify the following solutions for getting America’s infrastructure back on its feet:

  • Technology: a majority (90 percent) agrees that technology plays an important part in improving the quality of U.S. infrastructure.
  • Private vs. Public Funding: 68 percent disagree that improvements should be financed by private funding, not government funding.
  • Regulation: 75 percent agree that increased government attention in the form of laws and funding is needed to improve the quality of infrastructure.