For months now, coverage of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has saturated our nation’s news coverage. And thanks to Trump’s ability to swamp the media with the insults he hurls and gaffes he makes, that coverage is too often light on substance.

Not enough is being reported on or shared with voters about the stark differences between the candidates on major issues that affect our economy — including the state of our transportation infrastructure. We hardly hear a word in the news coverage about what Clinton and Trump will do about suffocating commutes, aging infrastructure, choke points in our freight network and technology upgrades waiting to be deployed. Disparaging comments aimed at major swaths of our populations, apparently, sell more TV ads.

Today, the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department (TTD) is hoping to change that with the launch of their new campaign #SheWillFixIt. Their goal is to educate working people in transportation, and those who care about the quality, reliability and safety of our transportation system, about the candidates’ plans to fix our aging transportation system. Hint: that should be literally everyone.

This initiative isn’t about making Donald Trump look bad — he does that quite well all on his own. This is about taking a close look at the candidates’ views on the issues that matter to America’s transportation workforce, including Clinton’s and Trump’s vision (or lack of one) and specific proposals to modernize a sadly deteriorated transportation system.

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I haven’t met a Democrat who enjoys crushing traffic, overcrowded subways or ports that can’t meet the needs of our businesses. And I haven’t met a Republican who enjoys cascading flight delays, dangerously aged bridges or Amtrak train delays.

But there is a candidate in this race who understands the severity of these problems, has a plan to fix it and has pledged to make it a priority in her first 100 days in office. Learn more about how #SheWillFixIt.

FRA_logo_wordsNEW ORLEANS – Federal Railroad Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg and New Orleans Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin hosted the eighth of 11 nationwide regional forums on the Beyond Traffic draft framework at the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority Building. The Beyond Traffic report examines the trends and choices facing America’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, including a rapidly growing population, increasing freight volume, demographic shifts in rural and urban areas, and a transportation system facing more frequent extreme weather events. The report predicts increased gridlock nationwide unless changes are made in the near-term.
The town-hall style meeting allowed citizens, elected officials, metropolitan planners, transportation industry partners, business owners, and community leaders to learn more about the framework and ask questions about the trends identified in it. Acting Administrator Feinberg and Deputy Mayor Kopplin also solicited input from the participants on their region-specific experiences and asked for ideas on how to solve those challenges.
Beyond Traffic recognizes that New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast megaregion will be uniquely impacted by critical transportation challenges and immense population growth over the next 30 years,” said Acting Administrator Feinberg. “As we finalize the framework, we wanted to hear directly from the residents who know their transportation systems the best. The insightful and productive discussion we had this morning is one that all Americans should be having about our country’s transportation needs.”

By 2050, the population of the Gulf Coast megaregion – which includes Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Jackson, Mobile and New Orleans – is expected to increase by more than 76 percent. But, as the condition of transportation infrastructure continues to worsen, leaders within the region have critical investment decisions to make in order to accommodate this growth in population while preserving quality of life.

“As New Orleans continues to experience unprecedented population growth, smart transportation will remain a key priority,” said New Orleans Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the federal government and our local and regional stake holders.”

Following remarks by the Deputy Mayor and Acting Administrator and a presentation from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Beyond Traffic team, Deputy Mayor Kopplin, Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, Natchez MS Mayor Larry L. “Butch” Brown, and Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development Secretary Sherri H. LeBas participated in a panel focusing on the impact of Beyond Traffic trends in the region. The last half of the program engaged attendees in a facilitated conversation, giving them the opportunity to share feedback that will inform the final Beyond Traffic report when it is published in 2016. 

To learn more about Beyond Traffic or to read the full framework, click here.