WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has proposed investing $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements in the coming years, with approximately $200 billion of that being direct federal funding, with the balance coming from cities, states and private funds. That kind of investment can have a huge impact on the businesses of readers of CONTRACTOR and many other Penton publications. This past spring, Penton surveyed more than 550,000 of its readers and received responses from 6,861, a response rate of 1.2 percent. Those surveyed included a wide variety of readers from more than 20 publications, including American City & County, CONTRACTOR, Contracting Business, Electrical Construction & Maintenance, Foundry Management & Technology, Machine Design, and The Energy Times.
Nineteen percent of the survey respondents said they were involved in engineering, 11 percent in construction and seven percent in mechanical systems.
When asked on which of his campaign promises President Trump should focus, 49 percent said infrastructure.
Of the survey respondents involved in mechanical systems, 40 percent said the President should focus on infrastructure, 29 percent said tax reform, 17 percent said healthcare reform, nine percent said immigration policy and five percent said building a wall on the Mexican border.
The respondents were pessimistic about the ability of the President and the political parties to work together to effectively work on their top priority. Half said either no or “probably not.” Thirty percent said “possibly,” 14 percent said probably, while only five percent said “definitely.”
The vast majority of respondent said that the proposed $1 trillion investment would have a positive impact on their businesses. Forty-six percent said the proposed initiative would have a “moderate impact” and 20 percent said it would have a “significant positive impact.” For those involved in mechanical systems, 62 percent said that the effort would have a positive impact.
Relatively few respondents said that the proposal is already having a positive impact on their businesses. For all survey respondents the percentage reporting a positive impact was 18 percent, while 16 percent of those involved in the mechanical industry said that they were already seeing a positive impact.
On average, the survey respondents said that they think that a mean 36 percent of the proposed spending will take place in the next four years. Those in the mechanical industry said 37 percent, while those involved in construction answered 38 percent.
The majority, 56 percent, said they believe infrastructure spending will begin in 2018. Twenty-four percent are still hopeful for this year.
The majority also believes that infrastructure investment could ease the partisan divide in the country. Forty-three percent said either no or “probably not,” while 33 percent said “possibly” and 24 percent answered either “probably” or “definitely.”
The survey respondents were asked what types of projects should take priority and the big winners were roads and bridges followed by the electric grid and renewables. Sixty-six percent said water supply and wastewater facilities.
Very few of the respondents, 17 percent, said the work should be done with only federal funds. The rest said they prefer some mix of federal funds with private capital.
The respondents were asked if they approved of the way President Trump is doing his job and those in the mechanical industry were the most enthusiastic. Fifty-five percent said they approve of the President’s job performance, nine percent had no opinion and 36 percent disapprove. Those involved in construction came next, with 52 percent approving of the President’s job performance, nine percent saying they have no opinion, and 38 percent disapproving. At the other end of the spectrum, 53 percent of those in the technology sector said they disapprove of the President’s performance.
We at CONTRACTOR want to dig a bit deeper into the opinions of our audience on infrastructure investment. We have some mechanical contracting industry specific questions that we would like you to answer that may be found here.
Contractor Survey Link: