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Poll: Washingtonians support infrastructure bill

A new poll from the Northwest Progressive Institute found that 71% of likely 2022 Washington State voters support the infrastructure bill framework that President Biden is expected to sign into law on Monday.

The $1 trillion bill was approved in a 228-206 vote by Congress, with all seven of Washington’s Democratic Representatives approving the bill, and all three Republicans voting against it. In total, six House Democrats voted against the bill, but 13 Republican Representatives voted to approve it. The bill includes billions in investments for Washington State infrastructure, transit and climate measures. The bill initially passed the Senate in August.

The poll found that 51% of Washington voters strongly support the bill, and 20% somewhat support it. Among those who oppose it, 7% are somewhat against the bill and 18% are strongly against it. The remainder of those polled were unsure of how they felt.

Now Congress will turn its attention to the Build Back Better plan, which faces stiffer opposition from Republicans and some centrist Democrats. That plan is moving through Congress on a reconciliation bill which has been slashed from a proposed $3.5 trillion down to less than $2 trillion.

The Northwest Progressive Institute wrote:

“The (infrastructure bill) may only be the first part of the legislative centerpiece Democrats are hoping to enact in Congress before year’s end, but voters in Washington are nevertheless pretty excited about it.”

The poll found that 29% of Trump voters supported the bill, along with 98% of Biden voters. Republican voters were more supportive, with 38% expressing support. Independent voters supported the bill at 61%, and Democratic voters overwhelmingly supported it, with 97% in favor.

Regionally, 86% of King County voters supported the bill, followed by North Puget Sound at 72%, and South Puget Sound with 68%. It was least popular in Eastern and Central Washington, with 60% of voters supporting it, and 58% of Peninsula and Southwest voters supported it.

Infrastructure bill specifics

According to Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office, the infrastructure bill will dedicate $5 billion in funding to support megagrant projects. Washington needs funding for projects like replacing the I-5 bridge in Vancouver and the U.S. 2 trestle replacement in Everett.

Some $12 billion will be made available to the Federal Railroad Administration to expand passenger rail. This could help support Washington State’s effort to build a new east-west passenger rail system. Amtrak will also receive $16 billion to address its repair backlog.

In total, $15 billion will go to airport infrastructure grants, of which Washington airports are expected to receive $385 million, including $228 million for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

On salmon recovery, there will be $1 billion in grants made available for a new national culvert removal program, and $172 million for NOAA’s Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.

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