By Kerry O’Hare, Vice President and Director of Policy, Building America’s Future
What a year it has been. Raucous presidential primary debates led into lively general election debates. But through it all, the word ‘infrastructure’ was always part of the dialogue. In many ways this is a testament to how far we have come over the past few years in raising the awareness level of the poor condition of our nation’s infrastructure. But we still have plenty of work ahead. But before getting to that, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from 2016.
2016 was another busy year for Building America’s Future. Whether through numerous policy events including one at each of the two national conventions, a slew of opinion editorials and engagement with the media, BAF’s co-chairs and staff have maintained an active presence in the policy arena. Frequent participation at conferences in Washington, DC and around the country saw our co-chairs or staff play prominent speaking roles including events in Michigan, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arizona, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. We even took our message overseas to Paris to discuss the future of high speed rail in the United States.
Much of the action this year took place outside of Washington with a proliferation of local ballot initiatives. This year communities in 25 states voted on a record number of ballot measures relating to infrastructure – 77 initiatives in all. And keeping with the trend from recent years, the success rate for 2016 was 70 percent.
The fourth year of Infrastructure Week was bigger and better than ever. As a member of the steering committee, BAF continued its central role in the strategy and execution of the Week’s coordination and messaging. Here are some of the numbers:
- Nearly 160 Affiliates planned more than 70 events in 23 states (up from 50 events in 2015)
- More than 87 million social media impressions (compared to 41 million impressions last year)
- More than 120 stories around the country were published (twice the number from 2015)
- More than 4,500 letters written to over 1,500 elected officials.
Mark your calendar for Infrastructure Week 2017 which will take place May 15-19.
2016 also saw the continued popularity of our free mobile app I’m Stuck. Over 15,700 users in all 50 states have sent loud and clear messages to their Member of Congress and Senators declaring that they are fed up with being ‘stuck’ in traffic jams, on airport tarmacs or on overcrowded busses and trains. To date over 14,500 of these messages have been sent to Congress. If you haven’t already, please download I’m Stuck and put it to use when travelling during this holiday season or anytime you are ‘stuck’ trying to get around.
If you thought 2016 was busy just wait until next year. All indications are that an infrastructure proposal will be offered by President-elect Trump and his team and will be considered by Congress in the year ahead. So enjoy the rest of this holiday season and don’t forget to get some rest and relaxation. Next year will be full of activity.