“There has been some debate, none of it new, on the chicken and the egg, and the relative importance to each. In this case, the chickens are large highways, and the egg is the perpetually under-developed downtown Buffalo. Is Buffalo under-developed because large highways are in the way? Do the highways need to be removed for Buffalo to prosper? How important are the stupid highways in the grand scheme of things?” ponders Castner.
Buffalo highways: Chicen or egg
“Which is more important: having great infrastructure, or how you use what you have? If you answered the second, why do we always seem to argue about the first?” he asks. “Since Buffalo doesn’t have $5 billion or $10 billion to start over, I think how we use what we’ve got is more important than arguing about what we wish would happen, or would have happened.
“Even the most cursory review shows that both flourishing and floundering cities have all manner of infrastructure,” writes Castner. “For every Vancouver touted for explosive growth with no highways in the urban core (though plenty of gridlock), there is Chicago, Milwaukee, Toronto, Portland and Seattle that are riddled with expressways. Few would say highways are the main feature holding back Detroit. And does Pittsburgh’s resurgence have more to do with renewed medical and education industries, or reclaiming a little parkland where three rivers come together? Portland has a Skyway interchange hanging over the Willamette River. Know what’s surrounding it? Filled-to-the-brim bike paths.”
And, we wonder also, what about Buffalo? v
A bold new face at Better Roads
Let me introduce you to Mike Anderson, our new Senior Editor.
Here’s a guy who jumped into journalism as a sports writer for a local radio station in his native Canada when he was in 11th grade and has never left it (or his fascination with sports). He studied journalism at college and worked in local newspapers in Ontario. Since 1996 he’s been deeply involved in covering the construction equipment industry in North America for various publications. This guy knows his stuff and adds some real power to our magazine, something I think you’ll see pretty quickly, and he shares our completely unbridled enthusiasm for what we do. Mike will cover our industry in feature stories and in his column, Mike Anderson’s American Iron (I think of him as the other Iron Mike) which starts this month on page 34. His email is email@example.com so feel free to exchange ideas with him.
This from the Dallas Morning News of February 15.
With up to a $16 billion budget shortfall facing the state next year, 41 percent of Texans said in a new poll they would make up some of the deficit by slicing highway spending.
The poll also offered voters a short list of five choices of how to raise money for roads. Most popular choice was tolling (21 percent) followed by raising the gas tax (16 percent), last raised in the Lone Star State in 1991.
Evidence continues to mount that the American public is hopelessly unaware of the reality and the necessity of highway funding. Check out our Kirk Landers on the subject on page 48 of this issue.
Tennessee is King of the Roads
Tennessee is home to the longest stretch of Interstate 40 in nation (455 miles) and
for the fourth straight year, the nation’s truckers have rated it the best stretch of roadway in America. Truck drivers also rated Tennessee’s overall road system third best in the country for the eleventh year in a row, according to a recent survey of truck owners and operators by Overdrive magazine, a sister publication to Better Roads. For the full survey, go to www.overdriveonline.com/the-good-the-bad-the-better/.
Overdrive polls more than 300 truck drivers across the nation each year asking them to rate the nation’s roads and drivers, state by state. The survey includes opinions about the quality of the roads, the smoothness of the riding surface, road markings, construction detour availability and more.
The best and the worst roads by state as ranked by Overdrive
BEST ROADS WORST ROADS
1. Florida 1. Pennsylvania
2. Texas 2. Michigan
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