As Congress considers devoting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars toward upgrading the nation’s roads, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure, an overwhelming majority of Americans—85 percent—endorse requiring that federally funded structures in flood-prone areas be designed to better withstand flooding. Additionally, 83 percent of Americans support providing communities and states with pre-disaster grants to upgrade roadways so they can better withstand harsh weather, according to a poll released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
After a year of significant flooding across much of the Midwest, these numbers show robust support among Americans for stronger flood policies. Sixty-eight percent of Americans support spending more upfront to build or repair infrastructure in ways that increase resilience beyond a state of good working condition.
The support for resilient investments crosses the political spectrum and every region of the country, as does the concern—expressed by 74 percent of poll respondents—that the number of extreme weather events, such as storms, floods, excessive heat, and wildfires, will increase over the next decade.
Congress should heed the opinions of the more than eight out of 10 Americans who want our nation’s roadways built to withstand extreme weather. One proposal supported by Pew is to establish a pre-disaster transportation program that would provide localities with grants to improve the ability of roadways to withstand extreme weather. Doing so would help improve the resiliency of vulnerable and repeatedly damaged assets before the next storm.
Forbes Tompkins is a manager with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ flood-prepared communities initiative.