Climate & Energy Policy Lead
The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska
Senior Director, Public Policy
Greater Omaha Chamber
Phone: (402) 570-9955
As members of Congress debate its merits, Omahans are weighing in on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The bipartisan legislation has already passed in the Senate, and the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill as soon as September 27.
Voters find a lot to like in the Act. A recent poll taken to gauge public support showed that planned investments in roads and bridges, broadband, clean energy jobs, and a better electric grid were seen favorably among respondents.
The poll, commissioned by The Nature Conservancy and the Greater Omaha Chamber, was conducted among 350 registered voters in Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district by New Bridge Strategy, a Republican polling firm, between September 14 and 16. The margin of error is +5.24%.
More than two-thirds of voters say they want their member of Congress to support the infrastructure plan. Ninety-three percent of those polled felt that “strengthening and making our infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, or drainage systems more resilient so it can better withstand the impacts from hurricanes or floods” was important, with 75% saying it was “extremely” or “very” important.
Climate-oriented policies in the bipartisan infrastructure bill had broad acceptance among the respondents, including respondents who self-identified as Republicans. “The proposed set of actions – natural disaster prevention, emissions reduction, public transit, and clean energy technologies – are the right ones to meet this moment,” said Michael Fuhr, Interim Director for he Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. “There’s a real recognition in the state that nature-based solutions are smart investments.”
A majority also indicated that producing clean energy is “very important” to fund with this plan; three-quarters of those surveyed (and majorities across party lines) said that “climate change is happening.”
Nebraska Republican Sen. Deb Fischer cited the bipartisan nature of the proposal when she cast her “yes” vote last month. “This framework recognizes the Senate’s successful past bipartisan work. From roads and bridges to ports, airports, waterways and broadband, core infrastructure is a key responsibility of the federal government,” she said.
The potential economic benefits of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, such as providing job training, were also popular among respondents“Investment in infrastructure creates a two-pronged benefit. First there are the immediate jobs and capital allocation for the construction and execution of the improvements,” said David G. Brown, President and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber. “Second are the long-term effects created by the advancements. We make jobs available today and in two years we support more jobs through the increase of rural broadband, for example. Economic development requires you to play the long game; investing today for even greater returns in the future.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.