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Ignore the potholes; re-elect me!

Posted By John Latta On August 2, 2013 @ 9:05 am In The Roadologist | No Comments

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Think of it as a NIMBP problem. As in a Not In My Back Pocket problem.

[You know the NIMBY problem of course: yes we want you to build that horrible/dangerous/smelly -----, just Not in My Backyard]

Americans want more money to be spent on our roads and bridges. They just don’t want to be the ones who supply it.

Pennsylvania is just one example.  The problem is that politicians, those most calculating of people, understand that when the choice is between asking for more money or letting roads crumble, go with the crumble because it will not cost you your seat.

And as Melissa Daniels points out in this Pennsylvania Independent piece, this circular problem leads to inaction, enough of it so that the people of the state can see their transportation infrastructure falling apart.

I blogged recently about Pennsylvania considering lowering maximum weights for bridges as a way to make them last longer because the other way to do it–spend money on their repair and maintenance–wasn’t going to happen. And if that happens, apparently no penny-pinching politician is going to worry about getting the axe.

Surely in this day and age if we raise a gas tax by a dime or 25 cents there must be some way to let the public see that every cent they pay at the pump goes back into their roads and bridges. If they could follow every penny, people may just be more willing to pay it for better roads. But the system that is used to follow those pennies would be assembled in Washington. So, the circular problem again is it will be a very cold day in you-know-where before the public trusts Washington to “help” them in this manner.


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