Delayed? Let Your Congressman Know
by Andrew Sheivachman /

The U.S. Travel Association has launched a mobile app that allows travelers to reach out to their elected representatives and inform them about delays in their travels.

The "I'm Stuck" app, developed by U.S. Travel in conjunction with Building America’s Future, makes it easy for Americans to bring their travel concerns directly to their legislators in Washington, D.C.

The groups hope to pressure Congress into doing something about the country’s crumbling infrastructure, which hasn’t been a focus of major legislation for more than 20 years.

“Every poll that is taken finds people are aware of the deteriorating transportation infrastructure and want action,” said Ed Rendell, co-chair of Building America’s Future and former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania. “It’s not like the weather; [these delays are] a result of policy decisions.”

Air your gripes
The “I’m Stuck” app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices, lets users on the go email their frustrations and concerns about any transportation method. Traffic jams, subway delays, bus delays, plane delays, train delays, bicycling issues and overcrowded transit are all preset options.

Users input their home address before writing a custom message that will be delivered to the email accounts of their representatives. The user can then share their frustrations and images to their social media accounts.

By flooding Congress with messages from concerned travelers, the groups hope to show Congress that Americans support investment in the nation’s infrastructure and apply pressure to those in a position to fund investment.

“Our goal is to make it impossible for policymakers to ignore,” said Jim Abrahamson, CEO of Interstate Hotels Group.
 
The bigger picture
The U.S. Highway Trust Fund, a federal fund that supports infrastructure projects, is expected to run out of money by late this summer, putting projects across the country at risk.
 
“The lack of investment is imperiling our global competitiveness and job growth,” said Abrahamson. “This is just unacceptable for a country like the U.S., especially when you see the investment in infrastructure in other countries.

“There is a very real urgency about the state of America’s infrastructure that Washington can and must fix,” said Abrahamson. If Congress fails to fund infrastructure improvements, it will result in “tens of thousands of jobs lost and extreme travel delays around the nation,” he said.

“Travel through the road, rail and sky is denser than ever before, and there is a looming demand that will increase delays,” said Abrahamson.

“Within a decade, most of our top 50 airports will experience Thanksgiving week-like conditions every week, and Labor Day traffic levels will soon be a regular reality on our highways year-round.”

Bipartisan support
Rendell, who as governor of Pennsylvania supported improving the state’s transportation system, said he saw extreme bipartisan support for infrastructure investment at a recent meeting.

“Even Tea Party members said we need to spend money on infrastructure,” said Rendell.

“If we get the app used and emails start flooding in, it will have the effect of being a permission slip [for Congressmen] to support infrastructure investment.”

Within a decade, most of our top 50 airports will experience Thanksgiving week-like conditions every week.

Jim Abrahamson, Interstate Hotels Group