Monday, July 29, 2019

Road Construction

I took US Government at Lansing Community College from the renowned James McClure in 1978. Mr McClure's claim-to-fame was that he was too radical for the Democratic Party in 1968 and had been invited to leave.

In spite of all that, he was a consummate professional when educating young minds.

He informed us that incumbents invariably "juice" the economy with public works before an election.

He told us the time-table. Legislation authorizing the funding for public works, primarily road maintenance, must be approved three years before the election. It takes a year to write and "let" the contracts. It takes 18-to-24 months for the money to trickle through the economy and get it fully hyperventilated.

I don't know that I can survive a higher level of road maintenance then I must currently endure. It is impossible to drive from Eaton Rapids to Allendale without three detours.

The first level of irony is that the US House, the US Senate, the US Executive Branch, the Michigan House, the Michigan Senate and the Michigan Executive Branch were all occupied by Republicans, nominally the more conservative of the two major parties. They all greased the skids to turbo-charge the economy at the expense of increased debt.

The second level of irony is that the last election saw Michigan's Executive branch flip over the to the Democrats. The winner won the office on the motto "Fix the Damned Roads" knowing full well that the Republicans at the state and national level had all ready stuffed the system with contracts and funding to do exactly that.

She won and you cannot spit without hitting an orange barrel, all paid for by the Republicans she beat.

The third level of irony is that the Michigan governor is currently demanding another $2.5 Billion in taxes every year for even more road maintenance. Frankly, a goodly portion of that money will backfill Michigan's underfunded pensions...but that is incidental to this essay.

She knows that the Federal monies will dry up January 1, 2021 and the next Michigan gubernatorial election will be November, 2022 which is more than 22 months after the (free) Federal money dries up.

Wheels within wheels within wheels.

So, are you guys seeing exorbitant levels of road maintenance where you live?


  1. No.
    And she won on the pot vote.
    Who was the R candidate again?

  2. I'm not seeing huge amounts of construction - but I am seeing little teeny jobs taking months and months with huge poorly marked closures around them. Locally, one ramp between 2 major highways has been closed 5 months this year and nothing is even happening on it!
    Another job they keep opening and closing lanes and the whole road with no signs or warning at all; you'll be driving down the road as usual and suddenly it's closed and you are trapped and sitting there for 20 minutes while the workers screw around in the lane of traffic instead of the very large section they have closed off already.

    To me the problem is that the workers are rude and arrogant and any signs notifying people what is happening are skimpy and wrong if they are even present.

    1. The months of dead time could be that excessive numbers of contracts have been let and access to heavy equipment is the bottleneck. There comes a point where another ten million dollars cannot buy another foot of road because the equipment is running round-the-clock.

  3. Normal level of general construction in my AO. More than usual road patching due to a harsh winter (rain/freeze/thaw/refreeze = big a$$ potholes). Normal level of street projects and highway projects. A few look to be going slowly which makes me think the funding must be uneven.

  4. The Corps is out in force in several area but that is due to flooding and levee maintenance.

  5. I don't understand the people in my town-generally Yuppie Scum from California ( I was born and raised there, but poor ). They seem to be crazy over two things. Holding a parade at any opportunity, and building way too many parks. The old parks and sports locations don't seem to be used much, and yet they are in the middle of building another huge "complex". Perhaps that is the corruption fund rather than roadways, here. I simply can't wait to pay more taxes on this turkey ( the state gov here is rapidly moving towards tax and spend, and they always have road construction. But there aren't many roads in Nevada, either. Perhaps it all just goes to Vegas water projects )

  6. I drive a truck in the northeast. Massive amounts of road work everywhere. I get paid by the miles I drive. During a recent construction delay it took two hours to drive six miles at .45 $ per mile. Yup, I made $1.35 an hour to drive a semi-truck in the worst conditions possible. This happens a lot.


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