Madison is paving itself into oblivion

Thursday, October 27, 2011

From a commentary by Michael Barrett on the Daily Page of Isthmus:

Over the last 11 years, the city of Madison has increased pavement spending at 11 times the rate of population growth plus inflation. So why have both reconstructions and highway expansions increased at far above the inflation and population growth rate? That depends on whom you ask.

Ask a progressive alder from an isthmus neighborhood why he or she votes for all the paving (and they all do), and the answer ranges from roads-as-public-works-savior to roads-as-bargaining-chip-for-park-benches. Never mind the illegality of such log rolling, or the good old fashioned sexism favoring "breadwinner"/manly road building over "women's work"/social services.

Ask a fiscally conservative alder, and you'll find out that they are actually closet socialists -- albeit a socialism for cars, not people.

The mushy-middle alders are easily cowed by the city engineers into believing that unless every street is in freshly steamrolled condition, they will be thrown out of office.

And so we pave. A lot.