Survey: Mayors worry about aging infrastructure
New York — Mayors across the U.S. say they worry about their cities’ aging infrastructure and they’d like more state and federal support, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The 89 mayors from 31 states also said they get policy ideas by studying other cities, with New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles receiving the most mentions.
The Menino Survey of Mayors, named for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who died in 2014, was conducted by Boston University’s Initiative on Cities and funded by Citigroup. Its release coincides with the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which starts Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Graham Wilson, director of the Initiative on Cities, said mayors are innovators and added, “We hope that the Menino Survey shines a light on their leadership and helps mayors communicate the needs, challenges, and achievements of cities today.”
Ed Skyler, head of global public affairs for Citi, said the survey “does validate that a lot of the challenges that mayors face are widely shared.”
Among the findings of the survey:
— Mayors say aging and underfunded infrastructure is their most pressing challenge. Mass transit, roads and water top the list of priorities.
— Mayors support proposed police reforms including body cameras, independent investigations for police shootings and publicizing arrest and crime statistics by demographics. Democratic and Republican mayors support many of the reforms equally.
— Mayors believe they receive too little financial support from state and federal government and are overly burdened by restrictions from their state government.
— Cities are attempting to assist low-income residents with housing, job training and other programs, but most mayors believe they have little control over economic inequality and they do not place it high on their list of priorities.
The survey was based on telephone and in-person interviews with mayors of U.S. cities of all sizes.