As I’ve said in this column several times in the past, while I’m not a great fan of deficit spending—face it, the appetite for funds only grows larger with stimulation—if we’re going to resort to it, then focusing on badly needed infrastructure repair and upgrade is the proper venue, since the folks who will still be paying for it long after we’re gone will derive some benefit from our prior neglect. So when the administration embarked on what it termed its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) I looked forward with cautious optimism to its success.
If memory serves me right, signs began to proliferate on highways and byways in our area about a year ago announcing that ARRA funding was on the job. These were followed in fairly short order by sawhorse-borne signs on the highway I use to and from work, advising motorists, “Caution, Rough Road,” an admonition offering no surprise to denizens of the route. But glory be, help is on the way, I thought, believing the signs to be a harbinger of relief from the thrashing my already long-in-the-tooth car was taking on nearly every road in the county.
Then about three months ago, the street in front of our office building showed signs of construction activity, and presently the thunder and screams of hammers and concrete saws accompanied by gentler harmonies of straining engines and whining hydraulic systems filled the neighborhood with songs of hope. Before long, a dozen wheel-chair compliant crosswalk ramps emerged along a quarter-mile stretch of high-use urban roadway that was then peppered with gravel and finally given a generous coating of asphalt.
Though some striping remains to be done, there is now a quarter mile stretch of roadway leading downtown in which we can all rejoice. But what about the two-and-a-half miles still to go? Well, three weeks ago another half-mile of roadway was peppered with gravel, another ARRA sign posted, and…well, we will wait to find out.
Meanwhile, back on the “Caution: Rough Road” circuit, my right front shock mount gave up the ghost, adding a serious clanging to the normal chorus of rattles and clinks.
Perhaps I should consider going into the sign business and working from home.