Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

GOIN' BACKWARDS

I read that North Dakota is one of the very few states that is not struggling with a budget deficit. Could one of the reasons be that it is not spending money on roads? A Wall Street Journal article tells about a Stutsman County North Dakota road project where instead of doing an overlay of new asphalt, the county is using a machine to grind the asphalt into bits as they turn the road back to gravel. Instead of progress, the county is going backward because there is no money to do maintenance and repairs on asphalt roads.

There is always another side of these stories and the other side is a question that only the citizens of that county can answer. How much traffic or how many vehicle trips does it take to make a road worthy of spending more to assure a safer and faster means of transportation? How many people live along the road and is it a main artery that carries goods and services to places of industry, rail heads, or even ports? No matter what the answer to the above question, it is good to note that a gravel road is not a "free road". Gravel roads mean more hours of maintenance and use of equipment and man hours to keep them smooth.

Nicollet County has an excellent system of 10-ton asphalt farm to market roads. We must be diligent, in spite of tight budgets, to keep these economic development tools in good repair. end

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