Free app encourages delayed commuters to stick it to politicians
By Jon Hilkevitch
'I'm Stuck' lets you fume constructively
HICAGO (MCT) The next time you are behind the wheel hopelessly stuck in a traffic jam, or on a broken-down train or on a bus or plane that's going nowhere fast, chances are your elected officials will not be in the same boat fuming along simpatico.
But if you think it would do any good to complain, or simply want to vent real-time as your blood boils about the crummy state of transportation, roads, bridges and other infrastructure in the U.S., there's a new way to do it and without even knowing the names of your representatives in Congress or having to lick a stamp.
A new, free mobile app enables commuters and airline passengers who are delayed by travel headaches to dash off a quick email message to their elected officials demanding upgrades to the nation's crumbling and outmoded transportation networks.
The app, called I'm Stuck, is the creation of Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of former and current elected officials who advocate increased investment to modernize transportation and infrastructure in the U.S.
I'm Stuck gives users the option to select the specific mode of transportation that is giving them fits at the moment and include a personal message describing the problem.
Then, based on the registration information provided by the app user, the email is sent to the appropriate U.S. House member as well as the state's two U.S. senators.
If the user is traveling outside his or her home district and encounters delays, the app uses geo-location to identify the elected officials who represent the area and the email is sent to them.
Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor who co-chairs Building America's Future along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the campaign is intended to build more solid public support for transportation improvements. Rendell said his hope is that a flood of I'm Stuck emails from around the country will provide elected officials with "a permission slip" to spend taxpayer dollars on updating roads, bridges, air-traffic control technology and other infrastructure.
"So we have to create enough pressure outside the Beltway to tell Congress, 'You have waited too long, we are losing global competitiveness and our quality of life suffers. Get your rear ends in gear and spend money on infrastructure,' " Rendell said.
The I'm Stuck app will run on Android and Apple devices. It is available for free download in the app stores and at bafuture.org.
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