Friday, August 12, 2011

Reason #1: Roads

This is what large segments of my morning commute look like - all along Penn Avenue, one of the most prominent and heavily-trafficked streets in Pittsburgh. Every once in a while, they'll run through and spackle up the bigger cracks with whatever the hell this shit is, but not only does this not really leave the road itself in any better shape, and not only does it fall apart in a couple months (or faster if it rains a lot), but even at its best, it just turns a downward bump into an upward bump. Oh, and did I mention I ride a bike to work? So if a car happens to be passing me at certain moments, I can either plow straight through the worst of it, stop and wait, or risk getting clipped by a rear-view mirror.

But hey, no one likes potholes. The point is that, if my hours of SimCity-based research are any indication, roads aren't all that expensive compared to the usual big public works projects you hear about. The only trick is volume, because some cities have a metric shit-ton of roads, many of which were built sometime between Caesar and Ponce de León (completely true side note - Pittsburgh actually contains the only remaining functional wood-paved street in America).

I'm not an economist (or a, um...road...paving...person), but if I could pay an extra, say, three dollars out of every paycheck and have that money go into serious ongoing repaving projects across the city - even in the areas I never visit - I would be cool with that. Maybe it would take more? I really don't have access to that kind of information - please correct me if necessary. But I have trouble envisioning a scenario where I would be against such a thing.

Oh...and I suppose the extra jobs wouldn't hurt, either.

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