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U.S. Mayors Say Infrastructure Is a Priority. But What Kind?

U.S. Mayors Say Infrastructure Is a Priority. But What Kind?

City Lab
SARAH HOLDER
JANUARY 21, 2020

The Menino Survey of Mayors identifies priorities like infrastructure, traffic safety, and climate change. But many mayors aren’t eager to challenge the status quo.

In 2014, Boston University’s Initiative on Cities asked a group of 70 mayors across the U.S. to name the most pressing issues in their cities. That year, the bipartisan group from places big and small largely agreed the answer was infrastructure.

Last year, as part of their now-annual Menino Survey of Mayors, the university asked a bigger group of mayors a similar question: What issue related to cities did they hope would get talked about during the 2020 election cycle? Six years and one very different president later, their most urgent priority hasn’t changed.

Released this morning, the survey, named for former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, paints a picture of mixed urban progress. Mayors from 119 cities with more than 75,000 people participated in the survey. Representatives from the West and the South dominated the sample, with 69 percent of all respondents; their average population was about 230,000. Less representative of the country were the mayors themselves: More than half were Democrats, three quarters were male, and 81 percent were white. This doesn’t reflect a sampling error as much as persistent differences between the demographics of urban areas and their leaders; in the 15 largest cities, about a third are people of color, and three are women... FULL ARTICLE

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