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How much do potholes cost us? March 27, 2014

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.
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We all know this winter has been brutal to roads, creating far more tire-popping potholes than we’ve seen in recent years.

But we also know our already above-average gas tax is climbing.  This tax is justified as necessary to maintain transportation infrastructure.  But as somebody whose family has lost five tires and two wheels in the last three weeks to potholes I wonder if government is up to the task?

Amusingly, according to this PennDOT page, “The law … prohibits the payment of property damage (tires, rims, etc.) as a result of a pothole. Because of this, no reimbursement has ever been made for a claim of this type.”

I can agree with the argument behind this law, since this would just be a transfer of public funds to unlucky individuals who can buy insurance against this particular peril if needed.  However we pay a substantial tax specifically to maintain public roads, and there should be some accountability for how those funds are being spent.

Because it doesn’t have to pay for it, PennDOT apparently doesn’t even want to know about property damage caused by road hazards.  But road damage to vehicles should be a key performance metric for PennDOT and any other contractor tasked with maintaining roads.

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