Smartphone app redirects road rage directly to Congress

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A national transportation advocacy group co-chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell will unveil a smartphone app today that allows people who are stuck in traffic to quickly email their congressional representatives to express their displeasure.

The free "I'm Stuck" app will be introduced by Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials who support increased investment in the nation's infrastructure.

Mr. Rendell will appear on NBC's "Today" show this morning to announce the app, while the organization's president, Marcia L. Hale, unveils it on "CBS This Morning," according to the two officials' Twitter feeds. The organization also has scheduled a conference call with reporters this morning.

This description of the app appeared Monday on Google Play: "The free I'm Stuck app, made by Building America's Future, will allow delayed commuters around the country to directly and immediately email their U.S. Representative or Senator to share their frustration.

"Every day, millions of Americans waste precious time, money and energy resources stuck in traffic, waiting for a bus running behind schedule, delayed on an airport tarmac or crammed into an overcrowded subway. The I'm Stuck app will empower citizens to tell their Member [of] Congress that it is time to reinvest in America ...

"Members of Congress are going to hear daily from their constituents about how a lack of transportation and infrastructure funding is keeping America stuck in gridlock."

The website cautions people not to use the app while driving for safety reasons but urges users to share it with friends and use it every time they get stuck.

It will have preloaded messages that can be emailed in seconds or edited by the user. It also can send images, raising the possibility that Pennsylvania's Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and the Western Pennsylvania House delegation will soon have a wealth of photos from Green Tree Hill and the Squirrel Hill Tunnels.

Mr. Rendell co-chairs Building America's Future with former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

As governor, Mr. Rendell unsuccessfully tried to get the Legislature to increase funding for the state's roads, bridges and public transit.

Since leaving office, he has been outspoken in calling on Congress to increase spending on infrastructure. Last week, he testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress that the nation will continue to "fall apart and fall behind" other countries if no action is taken.

Building America's Future supports an increase in the gasoline tax "once the economy recovers" but would eventually replace it with a miles-traveled fee; lifting the federal ban on tolling of interstates; and a variety of other loan and grant programs and mechanisms to finance improvements to infrastructure.

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Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic.


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