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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Winter gone but potholes have emerged

  • Keep your fingers crossed.
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  • Keep your fingers crossed.
    It appears Old Man Winter may have blown his last breath and temperatures are on the rise.
    Let us hope, anyway.
    This past winter has been, well, long.
    Though we didn't get an unusually large amount of snow, we certainly have had our share of cold. Too much cold.
    There's one way you can really tell it's been very cold — the atrocious roads in Wayne County, and Pennsylvania, in general.
    It becomes very obvious when you follow the locals anywhere in this area. It almost looks like a bunch of drunk drivers swerving all over the road. But in all actuality, it's just people who have memorized the potholes so well they know when to swerve.
    Follow their swerves to avoid disaster.
    This issue brings up the grander picture when it comes to the roads in Pennsylvania.
    They suck.
    Almost every national survey each years lists Pennsylvania as having the worst roads in the nation.
    It's hard to argue that fact.
    But what is the reason?
    One of the reasons has to do with the commonwealth system itself.
    Because Pennsylvania was set up as a commonwealth, it means the state owns just about every road in Pennsylvania.
    That is a problem.
    In most states in this country, the system was set up differently.
    Page 2 of 3 - Counties own a lot of roads in most states. They are generally the rural roads. Anyone who has travelled around the country has seen "County Road" signs all over the place.
    What this does is shift the tax burden to the counties. That might sound scary, however, it means less money is given to the state.
    When there is local control over fixing roads, sometimes the results are better. The locals know the roads much better.
    That's not to say there aren't problems.
    In some places, county officials use their "power to pave" in order to buy votes. But that is a small minority.
    If you think about it, the state owns roads from just south of Hancock, N.Y., all the way to south of Pittsburgh. And everywhere in-between.
    That's a lot of roads — and a lot of politics.
    The solution to this problem is not easy. There may not even be a good solution.
    It's going to take money, that's for sure.
    From Milanville to Gouldsboro, the roads are bad. Very bad.
    And they need to be fixed.
    But can it happen?
    That's an open question.
    The governor and our lawmakers say infrastructure is going to be a top priority in the budget.
    Yet that priority will likely come nowhere close to what is actually necessary to do things correctly.
    The biggest problem is the state has let this go for years and years. They raise tolls and yet the roads continue to deteriorate.
    Page 3 of 3 - When something as important as infrastructure is let go for so long, this is the result.
    Everybody knows you have to keep the oil changed in your car and the filters changed in your furnace.
    It's common sense.
    And therein lies the problem.
    When it comes to common sense, the government seems to have very little. Lawmakers should have been fixing our roads and bridges all along, yet those chose not to let that happen.
    Our poor vehicles now have to live with that decision.
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