In 1971, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday. The day, designated to honor those who have fallen while serving in the US Military, has morphed into the unofficial start of summer.
School is - or is nearly - out, pools open, vacations start, BBQ's are held, and lots of people traveling.
This year AAA predicts that more than 41.5 million people will travel over the holiday - an increase of nearly 5% from last year.
That's a lot of people putting their families in cars, on planes, on trains, or on transit to get away for a long weekend.
KBT and our members who provide the access for those 41.5 million people have done our best. We've tried to build the roads and bridges needed to move people. We've tried to make improvements to our air, rail, and transit systems so people can safely and efficiently get where they want to be this weekend.
But even with all we've done AAA still estimates that travel delays this holiday weekend will be three times longer than normal. That's 41.5 million people spending one of their most valuable resources - their time - stuck. Just waiting for the traffic to move, the plane to take-off, the train or bus to leave the station.
Transportation providers - the contractors, engineers, transit operators, and airport operators would love to limit those delays and give those travelers their time back. We'd love to widen the roads, expand the airports, provide more transit so people can move safely and efficiently - but we just can't. There simply isn't enough money to pay for it at the state or at the federal level.
That's why KBT hosted our Washington DC Fly-In on May 16 & 17. That's why KBT will continue to partner with other organizations like the Kentucky State Chamber, the Kentucky Farm Bureau, and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers. We must continue advocating for the revenue needed to maintain the infrastructure we have and build the infrastructure we need.
If you travel this weekend, and you hear people complaining about the delays, just remind them that it doesn't have to be this way. Let them know it is up to us, as users of the transportation network, to pay for the access we have. And if we aren't wiling to pay a little more for it with money - we'll lose more and more of our precious time.
This weekend, while you're celebrating, please take a moment to remember the original meaning of this holiday and honor those who've fallen while serving in the US Military.
Happy Memorial Day!