The Laborers' International Union of North America has started running ads in Ohio and Kentucky -- targeting the home states of Republican congressional leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell -- calling for a highway bill that will create jobs and repair crumbling infrastructure. The first ad "London Bridge" features children singing "America's bridges are falling down" to the tune of the famous song. The problem is obvious:
America’s roads and bridges – once the envy of the world – are desperately in need of repair. The average U.S. bridge is 45 years old – dangerously close to the lifespan of 50 years. Congress must rise above the acrimony and partisanship of recent years and address the problem by passing a Highway Bill that protects investment in our transportation systems.
Congress is considering reauthorization of the Highway Bill to invest in roads and bridges, but Republican leaders are playing politics with the legislation.
A bi-partisan Senate bill would keep highway and bridge investment level for two years. That bill has been stalled by politically-motivated unrelated amendments.
In the House, Republican leaders are trapped between extremists who want to dangerously slash investment and those who want to hold legislation hostage to unrelated issues.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 1.5 million construction workers are unable to find work. More than 2 million construction jobs have been lost since 2006, leaving the industry with a 17.7 percent unemployment rate.
The ads are part of an aggressive and original campaign that includes other provocative efforts. Mailers are being sent to voters in both states entitled "How to Survive a Collapsed Bridge," that include statistics about the problem and excerpts from the Army survival manual about how to really survive a collapsed bridge. A flatbed truck is being sent through the two states that carries a giant roll of duct tape and carries a sign that says 'Emergency Bridge Repair Team'.