Cumberland Times-News

Jan Alderton - Opinion

May 3, 2008

Were city’s streets ever worse?

Arguably, Cumberland’s streets have never been in poorer shape. No where are they worse than up and down the length of Washington Street — where some of the highest property taxes in the city are assessed.

City employees Thursday put temporary patching on holes around the courthouse, but that is a short-term fix. There are still numerous holes where old brick is showing through the blacktop.

If it’s any comfort, similar problems are being experienced across the nation, according to The Associated Press.

Cities in the Midwest have been particularly hard hit because of a severe winter. Chicago already has filled 120,000 potholes, about 50,000 more than the previous year. Des Moines has run out of money for overlay work and has made a 20 percent reduction in the number of roads it will fix. In Milwaukee potholes doubled this winter to 5,500.

Compounding the problem is the cost of asphalt. Petroleum is a major ingredient in asphalt and it is expensive....

CSX and other U.S. railroad operators are expecting to benefit from chronic road congestion in the nation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is forecasting the need for $5 trillion to improve highways between now and 2025. “People are going to have a hard time coming up with that money., This can be a positive for our industry,” Michael West, CEO of CSX, told CNN.

He said the trucking industry is changing its business model because of the rising fuel prices and driver shortages. This can only mean an increase for rail traffic, he said....

On the topic of rail travel, May 10 will be observed as the first annual National Train Day. The day also marks the 139th anniversary of the laying in 1869 of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, which completed America’s first transcontinental railroad.

Amtrak and the National Association of Railroad Passengers will use May 10 to urge policy makers to renew their commitment to expanding the U.S. passenger train network....

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Jan Alderton - Opinion
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