Several rows of flat, blue solar panels lay on the ground with strips of green foliage growing between them.
Green Infrastructure According to a recent poll, Ohioans support many advancements included in the infrastructure bill. © Kelly Lacy

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Bipartisan infrastructure package delivers investments Ohioans want

The more they learn, the more Ohioans support provisions pondered by Congress

Ohio voters overwhelmingly believe investments to upgrade Ohio’s energy, transportation, and communications infrastructure will help provide a pathway to a brighter future, according to a recent poll.

And when told that these investments in public transportation, power grid modernization, broadband access, clean energy, and other solutions are included in a bipartisan infrastructure proposal under consideration in Congress, a strong majority (64%) of voters surveyed, including a majority of voters in Ohio’s coal and natural gas counties (53%), support a comprehensive package.

The survey of registered voters was conducted by The Tarrance Group, a Republican strategic research and polling firm, on behalf of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio.

Since the beginning of the year, congressional leaders from both parties and President Joe Biden have been talking about making major investments in U.S. infrastructure. A bipartisan group of senators, including Ohio’s Sen. Rob Portman, negotiated a $1.2 trillion framework that was agreed to by the White House and has served as the basis for the comprehensive bill currently moving through the Senate. The Conservancy sponsored this poll as the details of the agreement were first emerging in June to understand what infrastructure investments voters across Ohio would support.

At first, poll respondents showed some hesitancy in supporting a big infrastructure bill. Without any information on the substance, a plurality of statewide voters (48%) supported the bill. An oversample of voters in counties with significant coal and natural gas development demonstrated similar support (43%).

Overall support for the infrastructure bill grew significantly, however, once specific provisions of the bill were outlined. Both Democrats and Republicans strongly support the main pillars of the bipartisan infrastructure package, including investments in:

•            Public transportation (77% all / 67% GOP)

•            Modernization of the power grid: (83% all / 80% GOP)

•            Expansion of high-speed internet access through broadband: (80% all / 70% GOP)

•            Protecting natural lands and waterways (85% all / 78% GOP)

•            Cleaning up old industrial sites (82% all / 75% GOP)

•            Capping abandoned mines/oil wells (73% all / 64% GOP)

•            Natural disaster preparedness (80% all / 71% GOP)

“This survey is a clear demonstration of the axiom that information is power,” said Brian Nienaber, a pollster at the Tarrance Group. “Informing voters about the details of the proposed infrastructure package grows support for the bill by double digits.”

Tracy Freeman, government relations director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, observed, “The results here are clear. Once you engage people on the substance, voters in this state can come together across political parties and agree on what is best for Ohio.”

Voters, including those with significant coal and natural gas development, also showed strong support for clean energy and a clean environment.

In weighing their support for the infrastructure framework, 69% of statewide voters and 59% of voters in coal and natural gas counties found this statement compelling: “Promoting clean energy will allow us to get all the energy we need, while also improving the environment.”

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 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 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.