Once again rather than passing a long-term plan to finance the Highway Trust Fund, the U.S. Congress has extended federal funds for just a couple of months, leaving existing highway and mass transit projects and any chance of future planning in a ditch.
It’s all about who pays for it and how. Gas tax, barrel tax, repatriation, user fees, bake sale… no one on either side of the aisle seems to be able to pull the trigger on any idea because they’re frightened. They’re frightened of you.
It’s an emotion you’ll hear a lot about here at Be Prepared to Stop. Politicians are afraid to irritate voters. Automobile drivers are afraid of big trucks. Civil engineers are afraid another bridge will fail. Freight haulers are afraid they’ll lose business if they can’t meet increasingly tighter schedules. And the average Joe and Joan are worried that any money gathered in any way won’t be spent the way it was intended to be. Call it the Circle of Doubt. A circle that is more snarled than the most congested cloverleaf on any American highway.
We’re new to this stretch of road, but we’ve been talking to a variety of people for months about how things are and how they could be. We’ll keep listening throughout the summer as lots of folks with many points of view tell us how they think we should improve the system that brings us just about everything we use every day.
We hope this is the start of a fruitful conversation not only with those we meet along the way but also with you. Don’t be afraid. Jump on board and let’s see if we can find a solution together.