I was already disgusted by the poor quality of our roads. Now I'm even more disgusted. I'm tired of media people writing more about bike paths and streetcars than about the failure of sooo many local governments to get one of the most basic jobs of government done. I'm tired of politicians and public administrators failing to get their planning and budgets in order to get the job done.
I'm tired of Republicans in Ohio -- yes you John Kasich wanna be president -- blabbing about cutting taxes when there clearly is NOT enough money going to the most basic tasks.
I'm tired of having the nation's most powerful leaders in Congress -- that's you, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner -- utterly failing to get a simple highway bridge job funded in their home states. Do. Your. Jobs.
And I'm tired of citizens sitting still for it all. How much money do we taxpayers pay for all the people in city maintenance departments, county public works departments, state and federal departments of transportation? Maybe instead of pushing paper, they should spend two weeks filling potholes.
But that's just the seasonal anger talking. When I think about it, I wonder how it is that a nation filled with materials science experts, logistics and organization masters, business entrepreneurs and plain ol' hard workers can let our roads go so bad for so long. There really aren't better ways to get this job done? Really?
So I found this article, which appeared a year ago in Newsday. It deserves repeating.
It indicated that if this was "just" about technology, there's be no problem. Better road paving tech exists.
The real problem is about how work gets organized. The story shows that we've got 35,000-plus local government entities each doing roads their own way, and frequently slashing repair budgets along the way, each being run by people who get hired by people who run in elections that nobody pays attention to.
So we-the-people So we have no idea if our road departments are using the best materials, applied the best ways, at the right thicknesses, or not. The lack of coordinated planning is obvious.
Here's a quote from the article:
"The search for a better pavement continues. The Paris-based Joint Transport Research Centre examined two possible long-lasting products in a 2007 report -- epoxy asphalt and high-performance cementitious materials (HPCM) -- and found them "particularly promising."
The HPCM would require the development of new equipment to install it properly, and long-range testing was needed to achieve the proper balance of mixing and installing it, the report said.
A huge downside to both materials, the report said, was that "in Western Europe, their costs could be between 2 and 3 times the cost of conventional treatments."
The article also features Michael Herman, 72, of Huntington, who travels Long Island and New York City roads frequently as a salesman, and blames much of his recent $1,200 repair bill for his SUV on wear and tear from potholes.
"It seems incredible to me that the government, both federal and state, can't come up with an asphalt solution," Herman said.
He suggested creating a commission of scientists from outside the industry to recommend a better way of doing things. "Solutions often come from an outside source," Herman said. "And maybe a cash prize should be offered for getting a better asphalt solution."
Amen Brother Herman! We need a DARPA project to goose progresd in road repair technology. May we live to see that day.