Pothole City


pothole“She’s been training for this for years, and this course is as difficult as they come.”

“Wow, look how she swerves and still can maintain that SPEED and control!!”

“Oh, she is really fighting to stay on the course as she goes around that curve, it’s so difficult but she makes it look so easy.”

Have I just returned from Sochi, competing in the giant slalom?

No.

I’ve just returned from grocery shopping.  In suburban Detroit. And there is a pothole that could accommodate  a baby elephant on the road between my house and the dairy aisle.

To say that Michigan’s roads have a pothole problem is an understatement.  We don’t really have roads here anymore. Neglect of Michigan’s roads have been decades in the making and it’s more like Michigan has miles of potholes with some bits of road holding them together.

Now, I know many of you living in other states also have pothole bragging rights. But  a recent article in the March issue of HOUR Detroit Magazine offered the following factoids to set the record straight: when it comes to a pothole problem, Michigan wins, hands down:

  • At $124, Michigan spends the least amount on roads per person per year than any other state. Yes, we have low taxes, but the cost of maintaining a car on these roads – (an average of $320 per year per motorist) – makes up for the low taxes.
  • 29% of Michigan’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • 35% of Detroit’s paved roads are rated in poor condition
  • The average additional vehicle operating cost for Detroit’s roads is $536 per motorist
  • Michigan drivers lose a total of $7.7 billion annually because of deteriorated, traffic congested roads.

Cross into neighboring states dealing with the same rough winters the roads are much better. That’s because Ohio invests in its roads $234 per motorist and in Wisconsin, $231 per motorist. In these states, politicians did the right thing and raised taxes to fix their roads. Now, in an election year, Michigan politicians hoping to be re-elected most likely will not want to be associated with any sort of tax increase, even to fix the road they drive on to get to work. Or maybe they have special  smooth roads for politicians.

You get what you pay for. Or you don’t get what you don’t pay for, but in the end, you pay for it anyway.

Between the bumpy rides in the back seat and no one to take care of him at school when he complained of pink eye – because Michigan politicians also doesn’t want to waste taxpayer dollars on school nurses –  my youngest child said he actually wants to move to a state with higher taxes when he grows up.

Last night, as I was driving my kids home, my daughter thought she could give me instructions about my driving technique. After all, she has been a driver’s ed student for about 2 1/2 weeks.

“Mom, why are you going over so much to the right?

Mom, don’t you see that pothole coming up? Why are you headed straight for it?”

It’s because, my dear, that pothole is in the very same place of where the road should be. To avoid one of these potholes, I would have had to cross over a double yellow line into oncoming traffic, or drive straight through the even more potholed and gravelly shoulder.

Sometimes, there is no choice but to go through a pothole and just pray you make it to the other side.

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a public relations professional and reporter -- and always thought I would live in the New York Metro area - before my husband took a job in Rochester, New York. Most in Metro New York can't find Rochester on a map,and neither could I before we moved. I am now a columnist and a freelance writer for Rochester's only daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. I also am passionate about gardening, fitness and most of all, Jewish education and Israel Advocacy. Here's my perspective on Western New York living - the good, the bad, and the snowy.

One response to “Pothole City”

  1. stacylynngittleman says :

    Reblogged this on Stacy Gittleman's blog and commented:

    Today is the day. Raise the sales tax by 1 percent to fix our roads and bridges. It baffles me each time I traverse the worst potholed intersection on Middlebelt and Maple Road and there is a sign to vote NO on Prop 1. Today, get out the vote. Vote yes for our roads and schools.

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