Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When Rational Thought Goes out the Window


Read this article.

Whenever we build or repair roads, all logic breaks down.  Road is king, sacrosanct.  Think about a discussion involving spending $7 million on a trolley; the deficit hawks would be burning down City Hall.  But, oh, roads, PAVE, BABY, PAVE.

Here’s why I hate roads.  If the DOT can close the section of road for a year and it doesn’t make an impact, why are we rebuilding the bridge at all?  Sure, I love this section for one trip every 2 years where I cut from Home Depot to Falmouth but does everyone need this road?  Sounds like they don’t.

In truth, the argument for keeping this road is that traffic going from points south to the Midcoast can go around Portland.  This is good.  But since the road will be closed for a year, keeping traffic out of Portland must not be important to the DOT.

Either it is important or it isn’t important.  We’ll never know.  In the world of trains, when passenger counts get low railroad companies close routes and lines go unmaintained.  Then a decision is made whether to keep the line or not.  This never happens with roads.  When was the last time a public entity said, “the numbers on this road are too low so we’re going to close it.” Hah.  We don’t use logic when making road decisions.  How many other businesses make right decisions 100% of the time?  Since no road ever gets removed, that’s what we’re saying with roads.   Anyways, when you keep paving, budgets grow, people keep building in the exurbs, traffic keeps going up.  And that’s when rational thought goes out the window all in the name of the highway, our American temple.


  1. you can't underestimate job creation at this point. if it were the mid-90s, yes i'd have a problem with this, but it helps get people back to work. sure, i'd prefer them to be working a high speed rail but a job is a job at this point. so here's my question: what's the long term effect of re-building the bridge and do the negatives out weigh the positives of temporary job creation?