19 June 2008

Not much a'doin', so...hither a roads post

Can't think of anything particularly clever to poast this evening, but I hate to go for more than two days in a row without poasting, so here is my feeble contribution for the evening.

Here is an idea for state highway rationalization.  In the Pelican State we have many, many miles of state maintained roads, as I have mentioned before.  State roads in Louisiana comprise major intercity highways and busy urban thoroughfares, as well as untravelled back roads and rural lanes in isolated locales.  This is a legacy of the state's "good roads" past when governors Huey Long and his successors used the power of the purse to gain political support among the sheeple by constructing and sealing many miles of rural roads.  This also means that to this day the state taxpayer, who is by and large an urban resident, is saddled with the bill for the maintenance of rural cowpaths in Waterproof and Erath.

In most states local roads are a local responsibility.  The local governments in this state, particularly the rural parishes, cry poverty.  Tough baloney.  Local governments in Louisiana waste money in buckets - donations to the fire department Christmas fund, big perks for politicians, fraud and graft, etc. etc. So why have sympathy for a bunch of redneck "billy boy" mulchers on the public purse?

Local responsibility means that instead of petitioning the state to fill that pothole on a road which might take months or years for them to accomplish, the parish or municipality can do the work itself.  What a concept!  It also leaves the state to focus on the big ticket roads that serve "statewide" functions such as our woefully inadequate Interstates.

I would recommend partial or complete turnback of a large number of the existing three and four digit roads above 300, and even parts or all of a few below 300.  The parishes should establish a statewide parish road numbering system (similar to Iowa's) which permits rational absorption of these former state roads into the parish road systems.

(Credit to the excellent Iowa Highways Page for the above link.)