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Time to Put Your Mouth Where Your Money Is

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The Chapter’s Social Season has come to a close, and we have another successful pair of conferences, as well as a flagship Gala under our belt, which earned over $500,000 for the Scholarship Program.

Now that the fun is over—well, you know what that means.

Two repurposed websites. Two legislative action centers. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. About 50,000 Cost of Doing Nothing tri-folds and 4-pagers. A Cost of Doing Nothing Resource Book, a one hundred page encyclopedia of the upcoming highway funding crisis. A Cost of Doing Nothing Video. A database of coalitions to get our message out. A database of legislators and their member contacts. Creating those was the “fun” part. Now it’s time to really get to work.

When next year’s session winds to a close, will we be able to say that we did everything possible to increase funding for our highway program? Will you? Will you take the materials created by the Highway Funding Task Force to the people who need them—the voters and elected leaders in your area?

By the time this article reaches you, the Legislative Drafting and Review Committee will already be hard at work preparing for the session in January. This means that a vast majority of the members most active in producing the Cost of Doing Nothing series will be on to a new challenge. We cannot let that wealth of information and hard work fall by the wayside. We must get them into the hands of those who control our funding program, both the voters and the legislators.

As Tom’s article explains, you can’t have a successful program without a successful grassroots effort. Our legislators will not make a move on increasing funding for our highways until they are certain there is enough voter approval. We must convince our local voting blocks that highway funding is the right thing to do for their families.

This isn’t always an easy thing to do. It’s not enough to be right. If you haven’t noticed in Texas politics, everyone thinks they’re right. What we need is to be effective. We must show our friends and neighbors how highway funding can save them money, improve their quality of life, and bring more job opportunities to their communities. And they have to believe it.

Voters are viscerally opposed to more empty promises from government spending, so we will have our work cut out for us. You’ve seen the numbers— Texas will barely have enough for a maintenance program by 2014.

The path forward will be difficult, but there is so much to lose. It’s time to put your mouth where your money is—go talk to your legislators. Go talk to your communities about the Cost of Doing Nothing.

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