Here’s your cue. Now, smile for the cameras!

Are we really getting our money's worth on roads? The real answer just might surprise you.

Hey, did you know that the sky is blue?

Okay, maybe not in your part of Michigan and maybe not at this exact moment, but just go with me on this.

Did you know that if I were to spill coffee on my lap that it would hurt? I mean really, ,really, really hurt…a lot.

Hmmmmm, I wonder if I can get anything for the suffering I’ve endured?

And did you know that Michigan Roads are in terrible shape?

I’m so glad that we have a governor who is just so well-versed in the obvious.

{Oh, you’re going to love where this is going after the fold.}

So as you’ve seen at the clip above, most likely in another variation in your part of Michigan, the governor is at it yet again, hat in one hand (and a blackjack in the other…hidden behind his back, of course) making the same tired sales pitch to more than double the tax that Michigan Motorists will pay at the pump in order to fix Michigan Roads.

Oh, and did I mention that Michigan Businesses will also take a hit in their bottom line as well?

It’s a shame that we don’t live in Wisconsin.

Oh well, let’s get this production going.

MDOT crew in tow…check.

Local media in tow…check.

Obligatory chunks of pavement to use as a stage prop…check.

Thankfully, his staff’s pre-planning located a suitable stretch of crumbling freeway along Six Mile that can accommodate the large pool of reporters and their gear.

Brrrrr, it’s cold outside. Good thing that a follow-up news conference was also scheduled at Larry Tech just down the street.

So to sum up yesterday’s performance from Gov. Snyder and his hand-picked cast of characters at LTU:

  • Michigan Roads are bad.
  • More money is needed.
  • Lansing doesn’t have it (allegedly).
  • You will provide that money.
  • You will thank me later.

I don’t know about anyone else here, but there are several gaping holes in the governor’s logic that I can drive my truck through.

For starters, didn’t Rick Snyder bill himself as some kind of Cracker Jack business leader who just loves to tackle difficult problems head-on?

I vaguely recall some campaign ads touting that point not that far back.

So, can anyone please tell me what is stopping Gov. Snyder from using those college degrees of his and giving a presentation to Michigan Motorists on exactly where the revenue collected at the pump and Secretary of State, originally slated for roads, is really going?

I would really like to hear his explanation of how bike paths and landscaping improves the quality of Michigan’s Roads?

While he is at it, maybe he can enlighten us on why a significant portion of the revenue that is collected at the pump for transportation, gets siphoned off directly into mass transit (i.e. Comprehensive Transportation Fund).

Gov. Snyder would be remiss if he failed to explain to us the additional taxes that we’ll be paying sometime next year for the RTA, yet another mass transit agency (serving the same area as the SMART & DDOT transit entities).

And why is there still an artificial floor in the cost of construction via prevailing wage laws?

But the one thing that I would love to hear Gov. Snyder talk about is just how well the money that we are currently spending on roads (not counting the above) is used.

Those of us who live in S.E. Michigan easily recognize that stretch of road in the clip above as “The Lodge”.

Ironically. Rick Snyder inadvertently just gave yesterday us Exhibit “A” on why the Snyder(Calley)/Richardville/Bolger(?) gas tax hike is completely unnecessary.

Let me ask the readers here one question: After watching the clip above and looking at the overall condition of the freeway, throw out a guess as to exactly when MDOT built/rebuilt that road?

Fifteen years ago?


No, no, no, no, no!

To have THAT much crumbling roadway, it has to be at least twenty-five years old!

Would you believe me if I were to tell you that those guesses are way off?

Want to know when that section of highway Gov. Snyder used to illustrate the “need” for more money was worked on last?

Try, six years ago.

Yes, you’ve heard that correctly.

That stretch of road that Gov. Snyder was picking up various pieces of cracking roadway and showing them off to the camera was last worked only six years ago!

So you may ask yourself, why are we not getting any value for our money?

I’ll categorize the three most likely pat responses:

  • You’re living in a fantasy world!
  • You want to get something for nothing!
  • You want something that doesn’t really exist!

Time for me to pass along another local tale for those of you reading this from outside of Detroit.

Back in the 1940’s, there was another section of local roadway built called ‘The Davidson” (M-8). It’s creation was prompted partially by the need to relieve local congestion and move workers more efficiently to the area defense plants back in the 40’s

That freeway was used pretty much non-stop until it was shut down (due to capacity issues, not because of poor road condition) and totally rebuilt in the late 90’s.

One more interesting factoid; the contractor needed to use TNT to remove sections of the old roadway since modern road building equipment couldn’t get the job done.

So using that business-savvy education and experience that he possesses, I’m certain that Gov. Snyder can give us all an phenomenal explanation of how a road built using 70+ year old technology, and held up well over that length of time, is in any way inferior to a six-year old section of modern roadway that is literally self-destructing.

Yes, “The Lodge” is the kind of modern work that I want to see my hard-earned money going towards promoting all over Michigan.

You Betcha! (20)Nuh Uh.(1)

  9 comments for “Here’s your cue. Now, smile for the cameras!

  1. Corinthian Scales
    December 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Well, the Snyder/Calley Tax Hiking Administration are already buckling the House Rep's knees as evidenced by the House propaganda machine practicing transference.

    What a line of bullshit by McCready - his ass is puckering from his vote in May. Folks are just plain tired of these Looters from both Party's in Lansing.

    Jobs my ass:

    Michiganian's are at a $3,000 disadvantage from being hired, and I gottdamn told y'all so:

    You Betcha! (5)Nuh Uh.(0)
  2. Jason
    December 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    OK.. A six year old road is being used to demonstrate the need for more funding?

    hmm.. I hope that not a SINGLE person who was responsible for that construction has escaped fraud charges.

    You Betcha! (6)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Corinthian Scales
      December 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      Because Snyder has been transparent about anything to date? Matter of fact, start at the bottom here, and work your way up if you really want to look at how despicable all these f**kers in government really are.

      And, that bastard will have power to set taxation? They all could use a good old-fashion blanket party.

      You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)
  3. 10x25mm
    December 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    An even better example is the 'shovel ready project' pavement on I-75 NB from Mile Post 53 to Piquette Avenue in Detroit. Something was wrong with the concrete and it has a dark grey color indicating that the concrete never cured correctly. Already had to be jointed and repaired.

    The whole MDoT meme about heavy (over 80,000 pound) truck weights are fine, as long as axle weights are minimized, is also bogus. A really good Irish engineering study, "Minimizing Distress on Flexible Pavements Using Variable Tire Pressures" by Owende, et al actually ran trucks with different tire pressures across instrumented pavement. This study showed that lateral pavement strains are much higher when a succession of axles ran across instrumented pavement than would be suggested by the simplistic models used by MDoT. [Journal of Transportation Engineering, May/June 2001, page 258, column 1,].

    These lateral strains are the mechanism which break up Michigan's poorly founded roads. They are further aggravated by the high tire pressures used by American and Canadian trucks to improve fuel economy. But MDoT's power comes from contracting for road repair, not preserving roads. Hence the bias for higher road taxes.

    You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Jason
      December 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Never considered the lateral effect. It makes sense actually, because its more like a constant outward force vs a 'spring-back'

      Thanks for the input and insight

      You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
      • 10x25mm
        December 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        MDoT case on axle weights seems to be based on a laboratory study conducted by MSU: 'Effect of heavy trucks with large axle groups on asphalt pavement damage' by Chatti, et al.

        Lousy engineering study because it just fatigue tested pavement samples at static loadings determined by specified axle loadings. The Irish study instrumented actual pavement in a very clever fashion and ran actual trucks over the instrumented pavement to determine the strains created in the pavement and its substrate. Turns out that the actual strains in pavement are much higher than the theoretical values used by Chatti, et al, with vehicle speed, number of axles, and tire inflation markedly increasing pavement strains beyond the MSU static analysis.

        You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(0)

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