Stuck in traffic? Have a cell phone? Here’s your chance to turn your wasted breath into a digital complaint that could actually get something done.
Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition dedicated to reinvestment in infrastructure, today introduced a new mobile phone app that gives motorists a direct link to their elected representatives.
With the “I’m Stuck” app, available for free at www.bafture.org, travelers can instantly tell their Senators and Representatives that they are jammed up and something needs to be done about it.
“Usually commuters think traffic is like weather – it is something that happens to them and they have no control over it,” said Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and co-chair of Building America’s Future.
“But that isn’t the case at all. The policies we put in place, or the lack of a coherent long-term infrastructure plan, directly impacts the daily experience of Americans trying to get around their communities,” he said in a statement.
The app gives the public a tool to voice their frustration to Congress, he said. “It is called ‘I’m Stuck,’ but the truth is America is stuck until Washington takes action.”
The app opens with a safety warning: don’t text while you’re driving.
The user can either enter his name, address and contact information, which automatically loads the names of his Senators and Representatives, or enter the addressees manually.
It offers standard messages for a variety of situations, from being stuck on the highway to waiting for a bus or on an airport tarmac.
For example: “Dear member – I’m stuck in traffic wasting time, fuel and money. All around me are trucks, commuters and families delayed and frustrated. Please pay attention to America’s ailing and inadequate infrastructure. It’s important. It’s your decision. It’s past time.”
Or you can write your own message, and include a photograph of the situation.
The app becomes available at a critical point in the ongoing debate over investment in infrastructure.
The current federal highway program expires in a little over a year. It initiates significant reforms at the Department of Transportation but in terms of funding it is a stopgap measure.
The Highway Trust Fund, a principle source of revenue for U.S. roads, bridges and mass transit, has been flirting with insolvency for the past seven years as the intake from fuel taxes has remained stagnant while needs have increased.
Congress and the White House are facing a tough political decision.
The choice is to eliminate all highway and mass transit spending in 2015, raise the tax on motor fuels by about 10 cents per gallon or transfer about $15 billion from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund, Kim Cawley of the Congressional Budget Office recently told Congress.
The “I’m Stuck” app is designed to give citizens a way to directly weigh in on that decision. “(It) will empower citizens to tell their Member of Congress that it is time to reinvest in America,” Building America’s Future said.