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The state of America’s infrastructure, especially road and highway conditions, has been a hot button issue for many years. Drivers across the country travel along poorly maintained highways with deteriorating or outdated signage. With the proposal of President Donald Trump’s federal budget and an upcoming bill, America’s travellers may be in for a number of surprising changes during their daily commutes and road trips. The Trump administration recently announced a bill that will replace the nation’s interstate highway signs, as well as other major highway and road signs, with more efficient construction paper and popsicle sticks.
The bill is an effort to integrate the Department of Education and Department of Transportation, hiring students in kindergarten and first grade as the main facilitators of the project.
“I really think the bill will encourage teamwork and teach the kids the value of America’s infrastructure,” DOT Secretary Elaine Chao said. “Our nation’s highways are far from perfect. These colorful signs can inspire America’s drivers and save them money in the long-term.”
According to the bill, the students will have the choice of either blue or red construction paper as the base for their sign, and a maximum of 12 popsicle sticks for support. From there, the students will use an assortment of stencils, stickers, and glitter pens to accessorize their signs.
“I made one with turtle stickers for lettering,” said Bethany Sommers, a first grader from Boise, Idaho whose school was selected to take part in a trial run of the program, said. “It’s really pretty, and I think people will love it.”
While the bill promises compensation for the children, many parents are concerned about the tough workload for their five and six-year-olds.
“My son goes to school to learn about sharing and math, and this federal overreach into our schools will definitely scare my boy,” Janet Butely, whose five-year old son will be one of the first to take part in the new program, said. “Billy barely knows how to tie his shoes. I doubt he and 10 other kindergarteners can understand the interstate highway system.”
Motorists driving around the trial areas have had mixed feelings about the initiative, with some claiming the new signs cause a major distraction.
“I saw maybe two or three signs blow away as soon as they were put in the ground,” Boise-native Chuck Walters said. “None of the signs still standing are lit at night, so I don’t see the point behind any of this. I don’t expect kids to understand electricity, nor do I expect them to have any grasp on the country’s crumbling infrastructure.”
A supplementary bill addressing road conditions will make its way through Congress at the same time.
“Given the nationwide surplus of Play-Doh and Silly Puddy, America’s major roadways will soon be replaced by an assortment of children’s molding toys,” Chao said.