As House Speaker John Boehner might himself shout, “damn it! I’ve had it–had it!” And maybe I’ll sue him. That’s because Boehner and his cohorts have been screwing with renewal of the federal Highway Trust Fund, and it’s become personal.
The one-mile stretch of state roadway that gets me close to my house has been in deep distress ever since the winter: crumbling chunks of asphalt that have turned the once smooth road into a mini-lunar obstacle course. And this stretch, part of a larger stretch of roadway that extends to the county line (itself not in great condition), was due for a major repaving by the state this summer.
But that hasn’t yet happened–and who knows if it will–thanks to the ongoing partisan gridlock in Washington, which has ensnared the trust fund. And it isn’t just this one bit of roadway that has been affected by the disfunction in D.C. There is simply little or no repair work being done on state roads that I’ve seen. At a time of the year when road crews are normally out patching and repaving, all is instead silent. The federal trust fund, which provides the money for states to do that work, is running on fumes, and will have nothing left in its till by the end of the summer. Naturally, the state isn’t about to start repair work only to get stuck for the bill later, so the roadways continue to disintegrate.
The House last week did pass a bill that would temporarily replenish the fund, but the Senate has yet to act on its own plan and the August recess of Congress is fast approaching. Most worrisome, the season for getting all the work done is steadily growing shorter.
This has left me, my fellow town residents and all those passing through on their way further north with not only a bumpy ride, but a potentially dangerous one too. I’m dealing with the problem in one of three ways: take a parallel dirt road to a point about a quarter-mile past my turnoff, and then reverse my direction southbound on the state road to my town road; or downshift to second gear when I approach the craters on the state road and hope that nothing kicks up that takes a chunk out of the car; or, when there is no traffic headed in the opposite direction, swerve directly into the southbound lane to avoid the asphalt debris.
At this point, the deer are far less of a road hazard than is the road itself.