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Roads to Ruin: Towns Rip Up the Pavement
Wall Street Journal ^ | July 17, 2010 | LAUREN ETTER

Posted on 07/17/2010 5:59:50 AM PDT by reaganaut1

...

Paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue. State money for local roads was cut in many places amid budget shortfalls.

In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years. Last year, South Dakota turned at least 100 miles of asphalt road surfaces to gravel. Counties in Alabama and Pennsylvania have begun downgrading asphalt roads to cheaper chip-and-seal road, also known as "poor man's pavement." Some counties in Ohio are simply letting roads erode to gravel.

The moves have angered some residents because of the choking dust and windshield-cracking stones that gravel roads can kick up, not to mention the jarring "washboard" effect of driving on rutted gravel.

But higher taxes for road maintenance are equally unpopular. In June, Stutsman County residents rejected a measure that would have generated more money for roads by increasing property and sales taxes.

"I'd rather my kids drive on a gravel road than stick them with a big tax bill," said Bob Baumann, as he sipped a bottle of Coors Light at the Sportsman's Bar Café and Gas in Spiritwood.

Rebuilding an asphalt road today is particularly expensive because the price of asphalt cement, a petroleum-based material mixed with rocks to make asphalt, has more than doubled over the past 10 years. Gravel becomes a cheaper option once an asphalt road has been neglected for so long that major rehabilitation is necessary.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; US: Alabama; US: Michigan; US: Ohio; US: Pennsylvania; US: South Dakota
KEYWORDS: alabama; infrastructure; michigan; ohio; pennsylvania; roads; southdakota
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When the main purpose of state and local government becomes rewarding the public sector unions, who kick back some of the loot to the Democratic party, there is less money for maintaining necessary infrastructure. What are the hundreds of billions of stimulus dollars and gas tax revenues being used for?
1 posted on 07/17/2010 5:59:52 AM PDT by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1
Reminds me of "Atlas Shrugged" when everything started going into disrepair.
2 posted on 07/17/2010 6:02:07 AM PDT by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: reaganaut1

Just like the Third World...everything goes to “public servants,” while the people live in places with sewage running in the gutters.


3 posted on 07/17/2010 6:03:00 AM PDT by livius
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To: reaganaut1

Governments are letting go of their police and roads, but keeping things like their schools and garbage collection, which can easily be privatized. Goverments have some problems prioritizing what they should really be doing.


4 posted on 07/17/2010 6:04:50 AM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: avg_freeper
Who is John Galt?

/rhet

5 posted on 07/17/2010 6:06:41 AM PDT by BipolarBob (Even the earth is bipolar.)
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To: reaganaut1

I think there are still some farm to market road constructed of concrete in the 30’s that are in acceptable condition. Perhaps some real gov’t investment in “over engineered” pavement that will last >50 yr. is a good idea?


6 posted on 07/17/2010 6:07:17 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: avg_freeper

So a Mexican is arguing with an American. “I hate America”.
“Why do you hate America?” “Because you stole half of our
country.” “Not only that, but you stole the half with all the paved roads!”

Ironic no?


7 posted on 07/17/2010 6:07:21 AM PDT by Kozak (USA 7/4/1776 to 1/20/2009 Reqiescat in Pace)
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To: reaganaut1

LaHood (Dept of Transportation Sec) says the government is going to give bicycling – and walking, too – the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money. The former Republican congressman quietly announced the “sea change” in transportation policy last month.

“This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized,” he wrote in his government blog.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/14/bicycle-policy-ray-lahood_n_536791.html


8 posted on 07/17/2010 6:08:01 AM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: reaganaut1

I grew up on gravel roads in Michigan, and to be honest I kind of liked them. There was no dust at all, in fact the road I grew up on was so well packed and compressed with oil I could lay dark black rubber on it without trenching it was so hard.

They probably don’t coat them with anything anymore for “environmental” reasons, and then again back in the early eighties we were driving much bigger and heavier cars, so maybe the Festiva or Smart Car owners are the ones having all the problems.


9 posted on 07/17/2010 6:08:56 AM PDT by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
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To: avg_freeper

There was a British children’s writer named Bryher who wrote books set in various historical eras. One was about a boy living in Britain as the Roman Empire collapsed. The story begins with the child’s first noticing that something is wrong when he sees grass growing up between the stones on the Roman road and sees that any damage to the road is suddenly no longer being repaired.

The grass, obviously, was from the fact that fewer people were passing over it because commerce was being destroyed, and the lack of maintenance was just because it no longer mattered.

I read this article in the WSJ this morning, and that was the first thing I thought of.


10 posted on 07/17/2010 6:09:00 AM PDT by livius
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To: reaganaut1

The alleged rcovery act goes only to blue states.


11 posted on 07/17/2010 6:09:28 AM PDT by boomop1
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To: reaganaut1

And here is dumba** me thinking that the gas tax is meant to maintain the roads.


12 posted on 07/17/2010 6:10:20 AM PDT by printhead
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To: saganite

Hah! Ever tried to ride a bike on a gravel road? I think they’ve got a surprise coming...


13 posted on 07/17/2010 6:10:24 AM PDT by livius
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To: avg_freeper
Reminds me of "Atlas Shrugged"...

Look at the balance sheets of the Fortune 500. Of those that are profitable most are just sitting on a ton of cash - not hiring, not investing. A handful, like Citi and Google are hiring desperately and buying anything they can in an effort to break the strike.

14 posted on 07/17/2010 6:12:03 AM PDT by InABunkerUnderSF (Anyone who has read Roman history knows a barbarian invasion when they see one.)
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To: reaganaut1
In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years.

But have no fear, we're putting some $230 million into magical choo choo trains.
15 posted on 07/17/2010 6:12:35 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: reaganaut1

Look at the bright side. Going to be harder for the government types to get from Point A to Point B. Isolation has it’s advantages.


16 posted on 07/17/2010 6:14:42 AM PDT by j.argese (Liberal thought process = oxymoron)
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To: reaganaut1
Governments today take more money than ever in our history from taxpayers. Most of the money is stolen or squandered on “social programs”. Rather than actually run government honestly and efficiently, politicians are neglecting the legitimate functions of government. Maintaining infrastructure, providing safety and protection for citizens are neglected.

Our government is becoming dysfunctional and merely a devise for stealing money from the honest and productive members of society. Public service has become a euphemism for legalized theft.

17 posted on 07/17/2010 6:16:39 AM PDT by detective
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To: livius

That sounds like an excellent book.


18 posted on 07/17/2010 6:17:54 AM PDT by patton (Obama has replaced "Res Publica" with "Quod licet Jovi non licet bovi.")
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To: reaganaut1
"What are the hundreds of billions of stimulus dollars and gas tax revenues being used for?"

"Ass" transit.

As in "your ass is GONNA use light rail and be forced out of your automobile and into the nearest mega-city by any means necessary".

19 posted on 07/17/2010 6:19:54 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog
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To: saganite
“This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized,” he wrote in his government blog.


20 posted on 07/17/2010 6:20:31 AM PDT by WVKayaker (“The object of oratory is not truth but persuasion.” -Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay)
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To: reaganaut1

Pay more and get less. It’s the American way when the government dominates.


21 posted on 07/17/2010 6:21:03 AM PDT by Moonman62 (Politicians exist to break windows so they may spend other people's money to fix them.)
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To: boomop1

Not really. The money is going to unions and Obama friendly corporations and industries.

Personally I’m OK with it simply because I don’t want stolen money that comes with strings attatched.


22 posted on 07/17/2010 6:21:26 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: reaganaut1; Willie Green; narses

You’ve got to love those “self-supporting” roads!


23 posted on 07/17/2010 6:22:24 AM PDT by B-Chan
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To: Abathar

Absolutely nothing wrong with chip and oil roads, IMHO.


24 posted on 07/17/2010 6:23:12 AM PDT by stevio (Crunchy Con - God, guns, guts, and organically grown crunchy nuts.)
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To: Vince Ferrer

Most places didn’t have police until a hundred years ago. You were expected as a man, as an American to protect your own property and your self.

Police are basically....welfare for security... Or political enforces of state edicts against non criminals( that would be us ).


25 posted on 07/17/2010 6:23:47 AM PDT by Leisler ("Over time they create a legal system that plunders and a moral code that glorifies it." F. Bastiat)
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To: printhead

Oh, Heaven forbid! Why, don’t you know that the motor fuel tax is a “user fee”, not a tax?


26 posted on 07/17/2010 6:23:56 AM PDT by B-Chan
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To: Wonder Warthog
"What are the hundreds of billions of stimulus dollars and gas tax revenues being used for?"

"Ass" transit.

Evidence or GTFO

27 posted on 07/17/2010 6:25:14 AM PDT by B-Chan
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To: reaganaut1
Paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces....

Way, way behind the times. Oklahoma let I-40 devolve into a gravel goat path over 20 years ago and has done little to nothing to repair it, especially in OKC and points east. There's a stretch of about 140 miles that has tank traps. Worst roads in the country, IMHO, and I've been to 49 states. Last time I went through there (Feb. 2010) I seriously considered sending ODOT a letter to ask them exactly what was their threshold for repaving.....

28 posted on 07/17/2010 6:26:17 AM PDT by Thermalseeker (Stop the insanity - Flush Congress!)
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To: livius

I thought of Ancient Rome too, though knew nothing of this book you entioned. It is a tragedy what future Americans will experience. It is all slipping away. I live in Pittsburgh, and there are areas around here that just died in the 1970s-80s, and they are not ever coming back.


29 posted on 07/17/2010 6:26:34 AM PDT by PghBaldy (Like the Ft Hood Killer, James Earl Ray was just stressed when he killed MLK Jr.)
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To: livius

I grew up reading books like that. Since the late 70’s or so, children’s literature has consisted mainly of drivel: pre-teen angst, “Babysitter’s Club” and “Captain Underpants” type garbage. The first book I remember reading was a biography written for children about Molly Pitcher. I was in the third grade. Early 60’s.


30 posted on 07/17/2010 6:27:24 AM PDT by FrdmLvr ( VIVA la SB 1070!)
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To: livius

Everywhere the state builders, the government growers have built buildings, roads, bridges, social programs that we can not maintain.

It’s like a once wealthy person that still has the estate, the yacht at the end of the dock, the garage full of exotic cars but has let the staff go because they no longer have the income needed to maintain everything.

We have trillions of dollars in government employee pensions coming due. Many towns face the choice of pensions, or basic services. My bet is that the pay off pensions first.


31 posted on 07/17/2010 6:27:38 AM PDT by Leisler ("Over time they create a legal system that plunders and a moral code that glorifies it." F. Bastiat)
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To: livius
Hah! Ever tried to ride a bike on a gravel road? I think they’ve got a surprise coming...

The only thing rougher is hitting a pothole--or a lot of them. Some of the county roads here have been replaced with pavement--the asphalt layers were ground up and re-used elsewhere because there is still some material in them and the 'mix' (sand, gravel, etc) is right already.

We have very good gravel roads here for vehicle traffic. It is not uncommon to do 50 or 60 on them, but they are well packed and maintained.

The 'equal priority for bicycles' is crap, though, when major towns are 100 miles apart--especially with our winters.

32 posted on 07/17/2010 6:27:50 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Abathar
I grew up on gravel roads in Michigan, and to be honest I kind of liked them.

Same here but using the money for something else is what really needs to stop.
33 posted on 07/17/2010 6:28:23 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: WVKayaker

Ironic. The Chicoms are buying more cars then ever before while we devolve to bicycles.


34 posted on 07/17/2010 6:29:03 AM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: Leisler
You were expected as a man, as an American to protect your own property and your self.

Still that way here in SE Tennessee. In fact, the local county Sheriff pretty much told me that exact thing not two years ago when I complained about all the illegals and the associated burglaries that were happening.....

35 posted on 07/17/2010 6:29:34 AM PDT by Thermalseeker (Stop the insanity - Flush Congress!)
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To: reaganaut1

Good, then they can deal with the broken windshield claims instead.


36 posted on 07/17/2010 6:29:39 AM PDT by headstamp 2 ("My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter")
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To: Abathar
I grew up on gravel roads in Michigan, and to be honest I kind of liked them. There was no dust at all, in fact the road I grew up on was so well packed and compressed with oil I could lay dark black rubber on it without trenching it was so hard.

There is a difference between a gravel road and an engineered road. My road is engineered. They put down tar or oil (not sure which) and then fill it with gravel. They did it ten years ago and the road has outlasted any asphalt road in the area. Asphalt is a quick, easy fix but now oil is expensive and they can't replace them as easily as before.

Can't wait till we get of off oil altogether. It'll be fun driving on... I don't know what they'll make the roads out of then.

I bet Gore and his cronies are buying up cement mines right now.

37 posted on 07/17/2010 6:30:08 AM PDT by raybbr (Someone who invades another country is NOT an immigrant - illegal or otherwise.)
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To: reaganaut1
If the road building lobby in Iowa wasn't so powerful, I suspect that there would be significant downgrading of many county blacktops that run where multiple family farms, rural consolidated schools and small towns used to be.

Should the contractors, politicians and IDOT figure out a way to skim and split just as much tax money by merely maintaining a lower-maintenance level gravel road as they would by asphalting/re-asphalting it, Iowa can be back in the mud PDQ.

Mr. niteowl77

38 posted on 07/17/2010 6:30:43 AM PDT by niteowl77 (I don't mind them stewing in their own juices, but I do object to me stewing in their own juices.)
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To: B-Chan

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2554084/posts


39 posted on 07/17/2010 6:30:45 AM PDT by Leisler ("Over time they create a legal system that plunders and a moral code that glorifies it." F. Bastiat)
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To: B-Chan
Evidence or GTFO

Did I see you on Larry King demanding that someone else's mic be shut off?
40 posted on 07/17/2010 6:31:09 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: livius
It's time to expose the “Public Servants” scam.

Is one legitimately called a “servant” when his lifestyle includes benefits and income which far exceeds his “master.”

Exactly who is serving whom.

It's pretty obvious...we in the private sector are the slaves to the elite, entitled, pampered, protected public sector non profit government class.

41 posted on 07/17/2010 6:31:38 AM PDT by Awgie (truth is always stranger than fiction)
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To: B-Chan
"I'd rather my kids drive on a gravel road than stick them with a big tax bill," said Bob Baumann, as he sipped a bottle of Coors Light at the Sportsman's Bar Café and Gas in Spiritwood.

Chipped windshields are another good reason to revive passenger rail service from our rural communities to the larger cities that still have paved streets.

42 posted on 07/17/2010 6:33:15 AM PDT by Willie Green (Save Money: Build High-Speed Rail & Maglev and help permanently ground Air Force One!!!)
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To: livius
Hah! Ever tried to ride a bike on a gravel road? I think they’ve got a surprise coming...

When was the last time you bought a bike? They have shock absorbers now.

I can see it now, "The federal govt. has announce a new program by BHO. We will now pay up to $100 to refit every bike with shock absorbers. This $200 million dollar program will create at least 12 new jobs."

43 posted on 07/17/2010 6:33:25 AM PDT by raybbr (Someone who invades another country is NOT an immigrant - illegal or otherwise.)
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To: saganite
“This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized,” he wrote in his government blog.

That line is straight out of "Atlas Shrugged" - sounds like Ma Chalmers and her soybeans getting government subsidized rail service while Minnesota's wheat rots in the granaries. LaHood exemplifies today's Republican - a go-along-to-get-along statist who can never quite surrender enough to earn the trust he craves from his masters.

44 posted on 07/17/2010 6:33:54 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ( "The right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended." - Rowan Atkinson)
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To: reaganaut1
First, doesn't it cost money to rip up roads like this?

Second, I'll bet that of course money from gas taxes that could have paid for road repair and maintenance was siphoned off for other purposes, and on top of that, spending for social services probably went up as well.

45 posted on 07/17/2010 6:33:58 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: raybbr
When was the last time you bought a bike? They have shock absorbers now.

Considering the amount of traction a bicycle tire has on gravel, I hope that they also have side air bags!

46 posted on 07/17/2010 6:35:59 AM PDT by meyer (Big government is the enemy of freedom.)
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To: reaganaut1

Sounds like the next the local governments have figured people care about—like school bands and sports and library hours—so of course they’ve got to cut back on them in order to maximize their ridiculous union employee pension schemes.


47 posted on 07/17/2010 6:36:52 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: Mr. Jeeves

So much of what is in Atlas Shrugged is now evident that I refer to Ayn Rand as a prophetess, not a philosopher. Of course, she had seen it all first hand as a child.


48 posted on 07/17/2010 6:38:55 AM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: Flag_This
I'm going to Shanghai in September on business, and will visit the Expo. I will use the trains and walk a lot to get around. One train I will use travels to Beijing at high speed. I look forward to something besides the ACELA from DC to NuYawk!

I will also use a motorized BIKE furnished by my hosts! I didn't want to drive a car and risk collision! New cars means new drivers!!!!!!!!

49 posted on 07/17/2010 6:39:38 AM PDT by WVKayaker (“The object of oratory is not truth but persuasion.” -Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay)
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To: Vince Ferrer
Goverments have some problems prioritizing what they should really be doing.

Chattanooga's big on sweetheart real estate deals, homeless shelters, catering to the freeloaders, and adding bicycle lanes. Not so big on breaking up gangs, educating the kids, and paying the maintenance workers though. I would say that they have some huge prioritization issues.

50 posted on 07/17/2010 6:39:58 AM PDT by meyer (Big government is the enemy of freedom.)
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