Welcome to the Pothole Nation

Bloomberg BusinessWeek

by William Selway

Steve Shaya grew tired of looking at a pothole in his street in the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck. So the 45-year-old civil engineer bought about $20 worth of asphalt patch and filled the hole himself last summer. "It was not only an eyesore, it was unsafe," he says.

For many Americans, the nation's rutted roads are among the most visible unhealed wounds of the Great Recession. Repairs have become an unaffordable luxury for cash-strapped cities and states. Now pols elected in November's Republican surge are preaching fiscal restraint and vowing not to raise taxes. Gasoline tax receipts, which provide federal and state cash for roads, are down—a result of fewer miles being logged and a switch to more efficient cars. Combined with severe winter weather putting more than the usual stress on roads, it all adds up to a pothole-infested nation. …

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