This time of year we seem obsessed with potholes, often for good reason. I just returned from a short shopping trip, and spent most of the journey dodging about a dozen large cracks and crevasses in access roads and the state highway that covered most of the route.
Yes, we can fear them. I couldn't avoid one giant, deep pothole in a side street—cars were on either side of me as I turned onto the highway. Even at 20 m.p.h., the impact made me think both front wheels had separated from the car. Luckily, that didn't happen. However, a couple more jolts like that and the old family sedan will face a trip to a service station for an alignment, or worse, to straighten everything out. We had to do that last year following pothole season.
Local media are featuring potholes. Cartoonists are making fun of them in their creations. Potholes are very close (following comments about continuing bad “spring” weather) to being the No. 1 conversation starter when strangers meet.
The Governor of Michigan has proposed bold action. He wants to increase gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees to raise more than a billion dollars earmarked for road and bridge reconstruction and repairs. At the rate the public is bitching about the condition of our highways and byways, one would think the Gov’s plan would carry the day with room to spare. Not so.
Led by conservative legislators in Gov. Snyder’s own Republican Party, opponents of the proposal so far have succeeded in blocking it. Some version may yet pass, but anything that smells like a tax increase is going to face a rough road (pun intended).
Recent opinion polls show a big majority of voters wants the roads fixed, but many don’t want to pay one cent in increased taxes to do the job. A number of trite sayings might apply here. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” seems to fit as well as any.