Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why the pothole problem could stay bad...

This year seems to be a prodigious pothole production event. And it's a major pain all over the country.

Even though I try to be very careful on my road when it's soft, we do have grain to move. And even in ideal conditions (warm, dry) increasingly heavy trucks and equipment take a toll on under-engineered rural roads.

In fact, there is a pothole on the way to Cargill in Dana (IN) Jan and I know as "The Mouth of Hell". We have pet names for some of the smaller ones too, but this abyss is as horrifying as it it impossible to totally avoid.

The entire stretch badly needs repaving, but here is where the seemingly distant credit crisis comes home to your neighborhood. You see, it's not just about super-rich people bleeding cash, it's about the ability to fix roads and bridges.
"Without affordable funding, projects don't get built, streets don't get repaved," Leighton said. "It affects the people driving on those roads and the people paving those roads." The credit crisis that began in the subprime mortgage market last year has now spread to municipal bonds. Governments and public authorities face steep increases in borrowing costs because investors are losing confidence in the credit markets and the companies that insure the debt. Public officials nationwide are now weighing whether to restructure their debt to lower rates - if they have good enough credit ratings - or to ride out the storm with the hope that investors will return. However, some are concerned they may have to raise taxes or cut services to balance their budgets. [More]
So if you need a new school/underpass/road in your neighborhood, the price is escalating. You don't just evaporate trillions of dollars without the pain getting spread around.

Maybe we should be extra-thoughtful about when we load up and hit the road this year.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Global Warming is responsable for the bad roads!! The freeze thaw cycle is killing our roads here too!


John Phipps said...


I think I'm going to start giving up on winter delivery. Besides the grain bins are so cozy in July.

Anonymous said...

Look at how your state or county spend the tax dollars they do collect. Then ask yourself what are priority expenses? Do they match? Not in my state/county!

John Phipps said...


The answer to that question can usually be predicted by whether you have a child/grandchild in school or not.

If we could solve school funding in IL, then we might be able to tackle local government funding.

Anonymous said...


I am with you!! Leg distributer, overhead door and cross auger all froze. 1/2 load to get out of bin now we have to move snow just to get it out - do it now or wait till refreeze or next drought!