Will Labor Day Gridlock Hurt the Dems?
This weekend congressional Democrats may rue the day that they required states to put up big promo signs on road construction projects telling drivers that it was funded by the stimulus. That's because, according to the Wall Street Journal, the record number of stimulus-funded road construction projects are threatening to cause huge traffic jams in lots of major metro areas around the country, potentially putting a serious damper on the last vacation of the summer for many travelers.
Roads and bridges need to be rebuilt and repaired, and in many parts of the country summer is the best time to get the work done. This year, the normal hassles of dodging construction delays have been exacerbated by some 12,000 or more highway projects funded by the federal stimulus program.
More travelers will be on the road, too. Compared with 2009, when the recession-era travel buzz word was "staycation," the number of people taking a significant trip this weekend is expected to be up nearly 10%, auto club AAA predicts. Gas is under $3 a gallon, on average, so it's no surprise that an estimated 9 out of 10 of those travelers will likely be doing exactly what I plan to do: Driving a long way in their cars.
The traffic jams couldn't come at a worse time for Democrats. Already they are heading into the final stretch of this year's midterm election campaign season facing a host of grim polling numbers suggesting that they could lose not just the House, but the Senate too. But those polls are based on data from calls conducted BEFORE millions of American hit the road this weekend. Now, instead of winning kudos for creating jobs with all those road construction projects, Democrats could suffer the wrath of millions of Americans who got stuck in traffic. After all, thanks to the big signs on the road, all those Americans mired in endless traffic jams will know exactly who to blame for their troubles.