The purpose of the town hall meetings is to strengthen and build momentum for a national dialogue regarding the state of the nation's infrastructure. Moreover, one of the primary goals of the town hall meetings is to find, at the various state and local levels, ways of building upon and advancing the recommendations provided by the National Infrastructure Investment Task Force. The task force's recommendations should help lead the discussion of the town hall meeting.
No town hall meeting will be the same, but the format chosen should reach target audiences (elected officials, local leaders, media, and infrastructure professionals). Selected speakers should offer their insights on the needs of infrastructure planning and investment at the local, state, and regional levels. The Facilitator and Organizing Committee should discuss which strategy will be the most effective in their community. Here are some example formats:
- Briefing: Panel of three to five speakers, with a moderator, introduces the issues/topics, including the recommendations of the task force (30 minutes to an hour); followed by questions/comments from the audience with answers/replies from the panel (30 minutes). The moderator should making closing remarks to end the event and encourage participants to stay involved.
- Briefing with breakout groups: Panel of three to five speakers, with a moderator, introduces the topics/issues, including the recommendations of the task force (30 minutes to an hour); followed by breakout groups with town hall participants (facilitated by each of the panel speakers). Each breakout group is designated a specific topic/issue to discuss. After an appropriate amount of time for discussion (30 minutes or less), the whole group reconvenes and the speakers from each of the breakout groups report back to the whole group. The moderator should making closing remarks to end the event and encourage participants to stay involved.
- Media Roundtable: Two to four panelists chosen to express a range of issues engage in a moderated discussion, followed by questions from reporters. This format is geared toward reporters and relies on them to tell the story to the general public.
- Policy Panel: A designated speaker welcomes the audience and explains the Rebuilding America initiative along with the policy recommendations of the Task Force; then, (s)he will introduce a panel of different community leaders who will each briefly explain their roles and experiences with infrastructure issues; followed by testimony from the audience participants.
After the format is agreed upon, the first step is to begin sketching out the agenda by filling in speaker slots and the event's schedule of events. For an example agenda, see Exhibit B in the Appendix. If there are partners or sponsors for the event, their logos (or some form of recognition) should be on the final agenda as well.