Today is the last Friday of spring break for most of Kentucky.
Until this year when my kids started school, I didn't really know what that meant. I have spent this past week with my family and several friends in Destin - and it seems like most of Louisville has been here too.
And the funny thing is - out of the sun and the sand and the food and the fun - the one thing everyone can talk about here is the traffic.
Traffic is bad in Destin. There are 4-laned highways that have a 35 mph speed limit. People don't move here - they brake. They brake their way all down I-65 through Tennessee and Alabama (trust me when I say that the Kentucky stretch is the easiest part) and they brake their way through the smaller communities of Ft. Walton and Destin to get to the beaches, restaurants and shops that help sustain the local economy.
And people travel from everywhere to Destin during Spring Break. On our drive down we saw plates from Pennsylvania, New York, and Illinois. We chatted with a couple from Michigan when we stopped south of Nashville for breakfast. They had been travelling all night to get to the beach by the afternoon.
What strikes me here today - on our last day - is how much we have all depended on our infrastructure to work. From our Michigan acquaintances to our fellow Louisvillians - we had all loaded the things we hold most dear in one car or on one flight and took off hoping for a great week. Most of us never gave a second thought about the state of the airport or the condition of the highways or bridges. In fact - most of us blamed other drivers while we were sitting on I-65 for two additional hours.
Most people don't know that a little extra investment could fund some improvements that would reduce the amount of time we spend sitting - and more importantly - get us to our destination safely.
Because, chances are, the traffic will only increase over time. According to the US DOT's Beyond Traffic Report, the population is expected to grow by 70 million people by 2045, and freight volumes are expected to grow by more than 40% to 16.5 billion tons in that same time frame.
If nothing is done now, then we'll all be sitting on the highways, at the airport, or at the train station even longer. Eventually, there will be an impact on how many of us make the trip to Florida or some other popular location - because we won't want to take the risk on unsafe, crowded roadways or we won't want to lose the time in transit.
Knowing all this growth is coming, not making the investment in our infrastructure to fix our problems today shouldn't be an option.
I'd be willing to pay a little more to ensure that my little family and I have a safe trip home tomorrow - and every other trip we take in the future. Wouldn't you do that for your family?
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