A new website and social media campaign launched by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) provides members of Congress with sound bites to support their votes later this year to provide a sustainable, long-term revenue stream for future highway and transit investments through the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).
TMAW.org, the website for the group’s Transportation Makes America Work! (TMAW) advocacy communications program, features infographics that show the value of transportation infrastructure investment and its impact on health and safety, children, family budgets, American quality of life and the economy.
“People’s eyes glaze over when you talk about trillion dollar capital needs, ‘X percent’ of roads, bridges and transit systems that need repair, and multi-billion dollar government programs,” said ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane. “What we are doing is taking that data, disaggregating it, and creating mind images that people can relate to. We’re presenting facts in ways that families can talk about transportation issues around the dinner table—so they can understand where their gas tax dollars are going and why.”
ARTBA’s launch target is Capitol Hill. “This is information every member of Congress needs to know and be able to articulate to constituents,” Ruane said. “Making sometimes hard decisions on federal investment in transportation infrastructure to secure and support the nation has been in the congressional job description since the first session of Congress in 1789. 2014 is a year they need to step-up to the plate and do what they all know is the right thing for their state and the nation—fix the Highway Trust Fund. We’re trying to help them.”
One section of the website, for example, draws attention to what the nation’s founding fathers and leaders said about investing in transportation. Another shows graphic maps that depict the future cost of inaction on personal mobility, economic stability and the environment.
ARTBA is rolling out the campaign over two-weeks. The effort is supported by “The Shocking Truth” internet and print advertising in the D.C. market and an aggressive social media strategy. One new set of infographics by topic will be introduced each day, June 17 to 20 and June 24 to 28. Phase two of the strategy is pushing the infographics out to the transportation design and construction industry for use with their elected representative back home during the July 4 and August congressional recesses.
ARTBA launched a complementary website in March, introducing the TMAW-supported Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC). The TIAC Web project, which includes a blog and more than three dozen case studies, is aimed at helping advocates from the industry, general business and labor increase transportation infrastructure investment at the state and local levels through the legislative and ballot initiative processes. The center is holding a first-ever workshop for state and local transportation advocates July 16 in Washington, D.C.