People are always asking me why I’m a producer for this documentary about our deteriorating highways called Be Prepared to Stop. It’s easier to explain why I’m the narrator since I do a lot of voice over work, but why did I come on board as a producer? Because it was important to me to let people know that good roads and sound infrastructure are about families. Your family, my family, every family that has a child on a school bus or needs all the things that arrive every day on trucks traveling those overcrowded, underfunded roads.
What happens if the roads don’t work and trucks can’t get through? Day one is kind of basic: the grocery store starts running out of staples, pharmacies run out of medicines, that kind of thing. Then gas stations are out of fuel and ATMs are out of cash. Airports close and garbage piles up. One of my favorite shows is The Walking Dead and let me tell you, by the fifth day we’re pretty much ready for the zombie apocalypse. We’re out of food, hospitals are closed, and panic is brewing. It ain’t pretty and it’s not just some writer’s imaginings. We need to be aware of what we’ll lose if we don’t let our representatives know that safe, modern infrastructure is a priority.
The American Society of Civil Engineers have given our infrastructure an average grade of D+ for years. Would you eat in a restaurant that had a D+ grade? No way. But we’re willing to take our chances on unsafe roads and bridges without a second thought. Infrastructure may not be sexy or action movie-worthy (although John Oliver tried in this hilarious fake trailer), but failed infrastructure is terrifying. Bridge collapses in Minnesota, California, Washington, Missouri, and Florida in the past 10 years alone demonstrate the need for boring things like maintenance and upgrades.
Why is this all so hard? Politicians have managed to convince us that lower taxes are more important than safety; more important than efficient roads that improve our economy; more important than alternative transportation options that would give people better access to jobs and opportunities. So, we’ve nickled and dimed ourselves into a very big pothole. It’s time to recognize that we use the roads every day and put our money where our wheels are. The federal gas tax has not gone up since 1993. We can’t buy 21st century infrastructure with a 20th century budget. Please watch Be Prepared to Stop on iTunes or Amazon Prime and understand what you’re voting for or against the next time infrastructure comes up on your ballot. Watch the documentary and learn about your local issues. Then vote. It’s time.