The Potholes in your wallet
Did you see a pothole on your way home last night? Was there one this morning when you drove to school? How about the pothole you swerve away from every day for the past year coming out of work? If you thought “yes” to any of these questions then congratulations because you, like most Americans, are dealing with the unnecessary problem of potholes. These potholes have possibly been there for years, without any sign of repair, just causing accidents and costly damage to your investments. Now if these “holes” are such a nuisance, why hasn’t the government done anything to fix them? The answer to that lies in your wallet, money, but there are better ways to fill a need without emptying the pot.
A pothole is a huge gap or “hole” on a road way caused by many factors that wear and tear such as car accidents, underground sink age, or earthquakes/erosion. Once a pothole has appeared it takes weeks, months, or even years before the city decides to fix the problem, which by then has caused other problems. Cars drive over or swerve around potholes causing accidents from flat tires, bent rims, to damaged fenders and possibly death. A pothole can do more damage the longer it stays open an unrepaired. In the article created by Felix k. Rioja, current city structures have often been “neglected in favor of building new infrastructure” in developing countries. The author continued his article by expanding on his beginning thesis of how the governments in developing countries choose to create more structures but haven’t managed to fix the problems that other built structures have faced for years. Since the government(s) possess the power to change laws and improve roads then why don’t they? Well the reason behind no action being done is because someone has to take the blame for increasing gas prices. The author included a review on how the World Bank handles it’ connection with public infrastructure without causing,” an additional, immediate, cost to users.” Since the World Bank doesn’t want to be involved with such a sensitive matter, no action is being done to help or hinder users, creating a stand still on the gas tax issue. If action where to be done the economy may stumble but no one wants to be held accountable.
Now the solution is simple, repair the hole with asphalt but that cost money. Every day, new potholes appear and there isn’t enough money to fix these holes and maintain the road safe. According to the article done by Alyssa Brown, most Americans would vote against a law that increases the gas tax, while the remaining third want to vote on the law that would allow to increase gas tax. Since a majority of Americans are either categorized as middle class or below it’s understandable why making gas more expensive is not ideal. Most are against the gas tax, this indicates that many Americans aren’t aware of the benefits that the increased gas tax would bring. Lower costs in auto repair and better traffic flow improve conditions in society and auto conditions such as better mpg, cheaper repairs, and less cases of death involved in vehicle accidents. Currently the road funding comes from the gas tax but that alone only produces 18 cents a gallon, not enough to repair the millions of dollars needed to fix roads. If the funding isn’t working then the viable solution would be to increase the gas tax. Now that sounds bad, but more tax means safer roads, safer roads means less accidents and cleaner traffic, further increasing mpg and time-saving from traffic. The slight increase in gas tax would be gradual so that people wouldn’t be discouraged to pay a little more for gas and damage small/wealthy businesses. All the benefits would be better, and only for 25 cents more per gallon, depending on a variety of factors.
However, if more tax isn’t ideal for more people then another solution would be some restrictions. Restrictions sound bad, but most potholes develop from accidents caused by big vehicles like SUVs and big rig trailers. According to the article Too big for the road, the author describes how heavy vehicles cause more costly damage than smaller vehicles due to the amount of weight they carry. Zach Patton continued with a comparison of 10,000 cars to one truck weighing 80,000 pounds, the truck came out as the deadly problem To reduce the chances of potholes developing then big rigs and vehicles exceeding the weight limit would be prohibited from driving certain roads to avoid causing accidents. With big cars and smaller cars driving on different parts of road then traffic would be even and accidents would be less frequent. Less accidents decrease the chances of potholes forming which saves money. Now this solution isn’t guaranteed to reduce the amount of potholes but with this restriction the locations of potholes wouldn’t be scattered all over cities, in fact the potholes would be concentrated where big rig vehicles travel and may be easier to repair; rather than making repairs all over highways and roads.
Potholes have been a problematic issue since the beginning of roads. The money needed to fix these potholes isn’t available due to insufficient funding the solution to funding would be to improve the gas tax in order to meet the demand for repaired roads. If increasing tax isn’t suitable for most Americans then another viable solution would be to enact a weight limit on certain roads. The weight limit would be a safety measure in order to protect roads from becoming damaged and further producing more potholes.
Brown, Alyssa In U.S., Most oppose State Gas Tax Hike to Fund Repairs April 22, 2013
Rioja, Felix. Journal of Public Economics 87 (2003) PDF file
Patton, Zach. Too Big for The Road. Governing Magazine: State and Local Government News for America’s Leaders, Governing, http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/Too-Big-The-Road.html. 2007