Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pothole Paranoia


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.

8 comments:

Kay Dennison said...

After shelling out $50+ for a sticker for Miss Ruby this month (in Ohio), I'm always a bit crabby. That said, if I knew it went for better roads, I'm might feel better. I went to Ohio's site to see for info on this and was delighted to see that is against the law to text while driving! What perplexes me is that that such a law is even necessary.










CathyS said...

Your last paragraph hit the nail on the head. Looking at the bigger picture, somewhere along the line, Americans decided ALL taxes are bad. Of course, they're not necessarily good, and we'll argue the money should be used, etc. At the end of the day, it makes sense for a community to pool its resources so we can have decent roads.

Tom Sightings said...

So what's new? Everyone wants better roads, schools, health care, etc., but no one wants to pay for them.

One solution -- move south, where's there's no freeze, and thus many fewer potholes. But, I don't know if it's worth it just for that.

schmidleysscribblins.wordpress.com said...

We just had our gas taxes raised and we have a Republican governor. Sometimes you gotta do it. Good luck with the pot holes. Now we dodge orange cones. Dianne

PiedType said...

It's pothole season. If the snow and freezing don't cause them, the spring thaw and heavy rains will. Even if you pay more taxes, there's no guarantee the money will be used on road maintenance. If only there were a way to ensure the city leaders hit some of those holes, bent some of their rims, and blew out some of their tires ...

Kay said...

In Hawaii the Mayor wanted to institute a gas tax to fix the roads in Hawaii. We have a lot of pot holes even though we don't have true winters. It didn't go through because they said that the big SUVs would have to pay more even though the gas efficient cars were also using the roads. Go figure.

Bob Lowry said...

The roads we encountered on our just completed 2,300 mile RV trip were in terrible shape. All through Texas and in Santa Fe there were more cones and barricades than tourists.

I'm not sure I'll ever figure out people who bitch about something that needs to be fixed, but then refuse to pay for it. Do they think wishing makes it so?

Big John said...

It is the same here in the UK. I've seen cracks in roads in Kent, where I live, which look like the county suffered an earthquake !