Capital Investment and Privatization: Public Opinion on Issues Related to Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
Public Works Management & Policy, 19(2):118-147, 2014
47 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2013 Last revised: 18 Feb 2014
Date Written: March 20, 2013
Water and wastewater infrastructure (W&WI) in the U.S. is in need of immediate capital investments. Support from the federal government has declined significantly in the last two decades, forcing state and local governments to contribute a larger share. With increased decentralization of infrastructure decision-making, public opinion is playing an ever greater role. Questions on capital investment, privatization, and concern for W&WI were part of a national omnibus survey conducted in 2012. Demographic variables explained a small part of the variation in responses but were inconsistently significant across the issues, except for party affiliation, which was a significant explanatory variable for all three issues. Stated preferences through public opinion surveys, coupled with revealed preferences, can provide policymakers a broad understanding of public support for various W&WI policy alternatives. An informed electorate and a responsive government can together address complex challenges facing the water and wastewater sector in the country.
Keywords: Water and wastewater infrastructure, capital investment, privatization, public opinion
JEL Classification: D72, Q25, R53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation