Mar 29 2014, 8:40pm CDT | by Forbes
Those aren’t exactly the words that drivers where I live are using to describe them. Those words, I can’t post.
After one of the snowiest, coldest winters on record in parts of the country, it’s a relief to see the snow melt. But all of that melting and changes in temperature have left us with another headache: potholes. Lots of them.
Americans have been complaining about potholes from coast to coast. As the complaints pile up, the fix isn’t always as fast as anticipated. In some places, residents are so unhappy about the state of the roads that they’re fixing the potholes themselves. One resident took it to heart in Ann Arbor, Michigan, prompting the city to release a statement asking others not to follow suit:
Ann Arbor residents love their city so much that when they see a problem, they want to get out and do something about it. It is admirable that someone took the time and effort to fill a pothole, but we strongly recommend against doing it.
If volunteers aren’t filling potholes, then roads crews are… and that costs money. As road crews patch, fill and sometimes even fall into a record number of potholes, government leaders are scrambling for ways to pay them.
In Minnesota, lawmakers are seeking an additional $15 million ($10 million for state highways and $5 million for city and county roads) to resolve damage from potholes.
And after declaring last week, “Pothole Week,” Stamford Mayor David Martin announced that he would seek an additional $2 million to pave roads.
But money doesn’t grow on trees. Or in sinkholes. Where are politicians going to find those extra funds? Across the country, the answer appears to be tax increases.
Of course, there is no “one size fits all (potholes)” answer. One Minnesota proposal calls for new sales taxes on wholesale fuels while in Olean, New York, property taxes may be on the rise. Los Angeles is considering a “half-cent sales tax hike… to pay for repairs of the worst streets and sidewalks.” Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mayor George Heartwell is hoping that voters will support a city income tax for streets on the ballot this spring. And in Montgomery County, Maryland, a “pothole tax” has even become an election issue.
Some, however, wonder if the burden should fall to local governments to patch up our roads – or if maybe it should be the federal government’s problem to fix. Three funding proposals have garnered interest among taxpayers although how they would raise revenue are very different:
It’s clear that, no matter which road we go down, the nation’s potholes are going to need a fix. The real question is where the money will come from to fill those holes.
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Source: Forbes Business
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