DON’T LET TRUMP GET AWAY WITH HIGHWAY ROBBERY
Infrastructure is what binds this country together. Roads, transit systems, and broadband keep our economy going; electric grids and water systems power our everyday lives; schools, hospitals, and affordable housing support our communities. But our infrastructure—much of it built for the first time in the 1950’s and 60’s—is getting old. Roads are riddled with potholes and bridges are crumbling. Water and sewer systems are failing to deliver safe drinking water. Our electric grids are becoming less reliable and vulnerable to attack.
We need 21st century infrastructure that is modern and safe and that supports our communities. And we need an infrastructure plan that gets us there.
Unfortunately, Trump’s infrastructure plan is a scam that will result in public assets being privatized and costs going up for taxpayers through user fees and tolls. It will NOT result in good jobs or better infrastructure—but it would be a massive handout to hedge funds and an environmental catastrophe that leaves behind the serious needs of too many communities.
As we heard in Trump’s State of the Union, this is the next major push for Trump and Congressional Republicans.
Why We Care
It will lead to higher state and local taxes. While it may be called a “$1 trillion dollar infrastructure plan,” it’s actually $200 billion in federal funding intended to make states supply the other $800 billion (through tax increases). From Trump’s 2018 budget, we can see the true priorities of this administration: taking money out of the Highway Trust Fund, slashing environmental protections, derailing public transit, and jeopardizing modernization of our electric grid. LEARN MORE HERE and #StopTrumpTolls.
This is a giveaway to Wall Street. The plan incentivizes state and local governments to use private equity financing, which is more expensive than traditional public bond financing. This means no or lower labor and environmental standards, and higher costs to repay via tolls and user fees. It means private financiers get rich off of new government projects—but the rest of us get ripped off or left behind.
The plan leaves communities behind. The plan is geared toward funding mega-projects that reward Wall Street with the highest profits instead of helping small, rural communities and communities of color with the repairs they need to their roads, bridges, transit systems, schools, affordable housing, water systems, and electric grids.
The plan could be an environmental catastrophe. The plan will likely roll back environmental standards in the name of “streamlining,” leading to dirtier air, dirtier water, and decimated ecosystems. The problem facing infrastructure is the cost of modernizing it—not the permitting process!
GOAL, STRATEGY, TACTICS
How do we win? We kill it early, by controlling the narrative and holding events to show public disapproval of this bill. Senate Republicans need 60 votes to pass this bill, which means that they need to convince ALL of their caucus PLUS Democrats. Every group (whether you’re in a red, blue, or purple state) should be mobilized to organize against this disastrous plan. No matter which state you’re in—your voice matters!
In the House, Democrats have introduced House Concurrent Resolution 63, supported by the Millions of Jobs Campaign (of which Indivisible is a part). This legislation lays out the principles of what should go into a good infrastructure bill. .
Democrats need to know they have the support to stand up against this corporate giveaway of public goods. We need to call every Democrat in the House and urge them to to cosponsor this resolution. The greater Democratic unity we have on this resolution, the more it officially becomes the position of the Democratic caucus—making it a lot harder for Senate Democrats to defect. If we hold Democrats in the Senate together, we win. That starts with a strong showing in the House.
What can we do? Our main partnership is with the Millions of Jobs coalition, comprised of over 100 organizing, labor, racial justice, and environmental organizations. Hold an event at your MoC's district office to shed light on how how Trump’s plan is bad for your community. Below, we detail two possibilities for your events.
Hold an event at your MoC’s district offices, and build a fake tollbooth that charges people to enter their MoC’s district offices—highlighting the inequity of an infrastructure plan that gives millions to corporations for using public goods and services. Make sure a member of your group is able to be inside or behind the tollbooth you’ve created, and engages with folks entering the building. This person can explain how Trump’s plan is bad for members of your community, and is yet another scam.
What you’ll need:
- A large cardboard box (or stiff posterboard if you’re going two-dimensional)
- Construction paper/posterboard
- Scissors or a way to cut a window in the box
- A basket to receive “tolls”
- A creative spirit!
If there is no district office anywhere near you, find a public road or bridge in your community and have a “Roadside Rally.” This infrastructure plan boasts about repairing roads, but would do little for communities across the country. Instead, it will reward Wall Street with profits, while leaving communities behind. Invite the media and your MoC or their staff to attend, and take lots of photos!
What you’ll need:
- Posters and signs
- A convenient intersection (even better if it has potholes in need of repair!)
- A warm coat or jacket!
- The Trump Tollbooth works here, too! A two-dimensional version will be ideal.
Like any good party (or action), it’s important to take the time to plan out your event to make sure it’s a success!
Make a Facebook and/or Indivisible event and start recruiting:
REGISTER YOUR EVENT HERE
How to plan a Trump Tollbooth/Roadside Rally event
**If your group is not near a district office, no problem! Infrastructure is in every part of this country. Keep making those calls. Find a popular road for some sign-waving, and snap a picture! Many places that need infrastructure support most won’t be receiving it with this plan.
1. HOLD A PLANNING MEETING
Great planning makes for great events! Have a small team meeting as soon as you can to coordinate an event. What posters and props will you need? Who will share their story? The tone of these for Democrats is supportive, letting them know that this plan isn’t good enough, and we stand strong with them in making the right choice to vote against it. Make sure to designate the following roles:
- Main speaker/MC: Good (and LOUD!) public speaker who will control bullhorn or microphone and introduce other speakers.
- Storytellers: Identify group members who are willing to share their stories of how this infrastructure bill will negatively affect them. (e.g., “this bill would roll back stream protections that keep our neighborhood’s drinking water safe”) Have these speakers write a quick draft of their remarks and share with the group for feedback. Make sure they tie your MoC’s vote to the November 2018 election and end on a call to action!
- Trump Tollbooth Collector (if applicable): this person is inside/behind the tollbooth, talking to folks who are entering the building. They should have talking points about the bill and can let folks know that they’re charging a toll to give the money to a corporation! Bonus points if they can hand out fliers to send folks to our explainer document.
- Inside office lead: If your MoC’s office doesn’t let groups of people inside, designate one person (or 2-3 people) to deliver handwritten letters from constituents vowing to vote your MoC out/sending their support, etc. to make sure their office knows they are on notice!
- Photographer/videographer:. Ask one person to take photos and one person to take video. Make sure either or both of these people make it inside the office!
- Social media coordinator: At least one person (could also be the photographer) should be tweeting out photos of the event in real time!
- Media liaison: Press-savvy person to put out a media advisory and pitch reporters on coming to your event. Check out our “How to Get Press to Cover Your Event” and “Press Releases, Media Advisories, and More”resources if you need help!
- Art director: person in charge of supplies and crafts for posters, signs, or tollbooth materials!
After you walk through the event and folks commit to roles, folks should stay afterwards to help create signs and props for your event!
2. DECIDE ON LOGISTICS
Identify the best type, time, and location for your event. Find an office that has a visible front door (with the MOC’s name) where you can organize a rally and take good photos with your tollbooth. If you’re doing the roadside rally instead, make sure to find a busy road or intersection in areas without district offices, make sure folks know how to get there or where to park.
- If you are creating a Tollbooth: designate two members of your group to take point on this. Assign someone to “charge and collect” tolls as people enter the MoC’s office (but make sure it’s clear that people can pass through even if they don’t pay a toll!) Make sure that you have folks to help advertise the event, and a clear description on both Facebook and Indivisible.org.
- If you are hosting a Roadside Rally: set up a time to create signs and posters with your group. Designate a member to collect materials and host the sign-making party! Make sure that you have folks to help advertise the event, and a straightforward description on both Facebook and Indivisible.org.
REGISTER YOUR EVENT HERE
Register the event online HERE - when you register events through us, we can amplify the work you’re doing and share with our partners. Make sure to advertise this to your Facebook group, listserv members, and through word of mouth! This is a great opportunity to set up a phone tree and ask your other organizers to step up and help you recruit.
3. SHOW UP
Once everyone has gathered and a staff person has joined, the event Organizer should state clearly why you all are there, and that many people in your district will be affected by this vote.
The Social Media Coordinator should record, live-tweet and/or Facebook-live the entire experience, reading out some of the messages that are being handed over to the MoC’s staff person. If no staff person is willing to come outside to meet with constituents, it’s totally fine and legal to tape your hand written messages and posters to the door/entrance of the office (please use tape that will not leave a residue when removed, so masking tape or similar, not duct tape).
- Make sure that you are recording and taking photos horizontally, not vertically. It really helps the video get shared and makes it usable for press.
- Be sure to tag your Member of Congress.
- Be sure to tag @IndivisibleTeam on Twitter.
- Post photos of the action to your social media accounts!
Send your stories, pictures, and best practices to firstname.lastname@example.org.