It’s a sure sign the end is near for a city, a state or a civilization when the roads are riddled with potholes. Count the potholes and you’ll be able to calculate how long it takes before you see bankruptcy, anarchy … or another tax increase.
Ancient Rome is a perfect example. All roads led to Rome and when they deteriorated, real estate values went in the toilet and low-class barbarians started moving in. Our nation’s capital is said to have the worst roads in the country. Instead of blabbering about more pork barrel legislation, our congresspersons should get off their duffs and do something productive, like picking up shovels to repair the streets. They have to take a cue from former Sen. Al D’Amato, affectionately known as Sen. Pothole because he knew pothole repair was important to national security.
Connecticut legislators should also stop worrying about issues like legalizing pot and start worrying about potholes … before the state goes to pot if it hasn’t already. They probably figure that if people smoke enough pot, they won’t mind paying tolls again.
Our roads are a mess. I recently drove through Connecticut on the once respected Interstate Highway System, and my Waze GPS app was getting hoarse from repeating, “Watch out! Pothole in the road ahead!” “Watch out! Pothole in the road ahead!” President Eisenhower, who counted the interstate system as his major achievement after eight years in office, must be rolling over in his grave.
And he’s not the only one rolling over in his grave. I visited three cemeteries in the past month, and it was like driving a NASA module around lunar craters. There’s no respect for the living or the dead.
To get results, we need decisive action. A graffiti artist in Manchester, England, got so angry he started spray-painting obscene images around the city’s potholes. His XXX-rated artwork motivated the highway department to get serious and they were repaired within 48 hours.
The problem is you can put cold patch on a street for only so long, and eventually it starts to resemble Lexington Avenue. As you know, New York City invented the all-American pothole. Regardless of who’s mayor — David Dinkins, Rudolph Giuliani, Bill de Blasio, or Alec Baldwin — the pothole has always been as pervasive as the sewer rat. You can get whiplash if you take a cab uptown because the driver will be swerving all over the street to avoid craters.
I’m convinced this is a government conspiracy. New York City and Connecticut must be in cahoots with the auto-repair industry. Do you know how much a front-end alignment costs? Do you have any idea what a new set of tires goes for? And what about shock absorbers?
The American Automobile Association estimates that car repairs due to potholes cost more than $3 billion a year, which leads me to conclude potholes are part of a lucrative scheme to generate sales tax revenue.
Instead of trying to drum up more tax dollars, our political leaders should turn to the entertainment industry to solve this crisis. We give them tax breaks to make films in our state, so they should reciprocate. Many roads have been adopted by businesses and fraternal organizations, so why not require celebrities to adopt a few? The governor should approach the Kardashians about taking ownership of the stretch of I-95 through Greenwich and Stamford. Stormy Daniels, widely known for her largesse, could claim that curvy section of 1-84 through Hartford, which, per executive order, could henceforth be known as The Stormy Daniels Express Lane. The possibilities are endless.
Last week, for the first time in about 20 years, the town repaved our street, which looked like London after a Luftwaffe air raid. The bad news is they paved on top of the old street and raised it two inches. Now when it rains, the water floods my yard. However, I’m convinced this could help me get my front lawn designated as an inland wetland, thereby qualifying me for a tax break.
And if I get one, I promise to use the money to adopt that stretch of I-91 that leads to the state Capitol … where I intend to put a toll booth, maybe two or three.
Joe Pisani can be reached at email@example.com.