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Rebuilding America's Infrastructure

Conversation Guide

As we travel around the country, we experience the blessing of a robust infrastructure that was largely built during the Great Depression as public works projects. And as many of us know, a high percentage of these public works have not been maintained or are being used beyond their intended lifespan. So what do we do? How can we maintain our robust infrastructure without breaking the taxpayers’ backs? Who shares the responsibility for bridges, roads, rail, water systems, etc? This conversation is an invitation to look closely at public works and talk about the real value we receive . . . or don’t.

Background Information:

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

ONE: Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

TWO: Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
THREE:

What are your biggest concerns about rebuilding America's infrastructure?

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

  • How satisfied are you with your local roads, bridges and water system?
  • How should our roads, bridges and water systems be financed?
  • Who is responsible for maintaining public works projects?
  • Would you be willing to pay increased local taxes for improvements? Why or why not?

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

FIVE: Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:

  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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