On one of my bike rides not too long ago I came across a 15-foot flatbed truck carrying what appeared to be the world’s largest roll of duct tape. My first thought was one that many men would have, “Wow. I could fix just about anything with that.” Unfortunately, however, what appeared to be an enormous roll of duct tape was just a prop.
The prop and truck were labeled “Emergency Bridge Repair Team” and it is a rolling protest by the Laborers International Union of North America. The protest pertains to the House of Representatives delay and then subsequent failure to pass the highway bill that had been previously approved in the U.S. Senate.
The union is of the opinion that 2014 is a critical year for the U.S.’s infrastructure. As President Barack Obama alluded to in his State of the Union address, they believe there is an issue in D.C. that, if unaddressed, could bring the American economy to a halt: the expiration of the federal transportation bill and the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
Last spring, the American Society of Civil Engineers released the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which awarded our nation’s infrastructure a GPA of D+. A grade of D+ is not a something any of us would be proud of our children for bringing home on their report cards.
Like with most issues in D.C., there is agreement that there is a problem. The disagreement is in what to do about the problem, and how to pay for it.
There are protests of one type or another occurring in D.C. every single day. From groups with signs marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, to crowds gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building, to more quiet and solemn protests like the White House Peace Vigil in Lafayette Park. However, this is the first time I recall seeing a “rolling protest.” And that’s one of the reasons it’s always so interesting to ride a bike around D.C. – you just never know what you’re going to see.