NASA or Potholes?

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It isn’t necessary to choose between space exploration and fixing the roads, bridges and tunnels. For now, the bumps in the road cost drivers the most. Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential campaign hopeful, has drawn a line in the asphalt on where he thinks America should be investing: That would be fixing potholes in the streets, not sending rockets into space. The real estate mogul made these comments in 2015 to a collection of voters in New Hampshire. “In the old days, [NASA] was great,” he said. “Right now, we have…read more

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El Niño Winter of 2016 Creating Potholes Everywhere

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The phenomenon is altering weather patterns across the U.S. – placing new burdens on highway maintenance crews and budgets in dozens of states. Much as meteorologists predicted, the el niño winter of 2015-2016 is turning into a monster. The immediate effects of heavy rain and flip-flopped temperatures – it was warmer in Boston (69 degrees F) and New York City (72 degrees F) on Christmas Day 2015 than in many parts of the Southwestern US (e.g., Phoenix was in the 50s) – allowed some to enjoy the outdoors more than…read more

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Bikers and Potholes: Injuries and costly litigation

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Cyclists just want to ride, but they can’t if injured by broken pavement. Cities, states and railroad companies often pay out large settlements to victims. As a veteran urban bicyclist, plying the streets of Chicago on two wheels in all kinds of weather since the early 1980s, I thought I was invincible. I’m as skilled at avoiding bad pavement as I am bad drivers. I know rough pavement generally occurs in low spots, where standing water seeps through cracks and eventually causes asphalt to break down because the sub-pavement is unstable….read more

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How The Hamilton Project Proposes Fixing U.S. Infrastructure Funding

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It’s not just about raising the gas tax – it’s that (by a fluctuating formula), but by other means as well. There’s more than one way to fill a pothole. While the U.S. Congress wrangles with reauthorizing spending on the Highway Trust Fund on an annual basis – making up for the shortfall in gas tax receipts – there are other ideas on how to maintain and improve the nation’s infrastructure  by engaging longer-term strategic planning. One such set of ideas was put forth in April 2015 by way of The…read more

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Pothole Pylons Warn Drivers on Quebec’s James Bay Road

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Maintenance costs for a road connecting small communities in the Hudson Bay region were cut in 2015 – and the predictable increase in potholes arrived on cue. James Bay Road (JBR) in northwestern Quebec (Canada) is a two-lane, 388-mile journey from the town of Matagami in the province’s interior north to Radisson, a village of about 500 people. The termination point is 1500 kilometers (about 900 miles) north of Toronto. It was built in the early 1970s to accommodate the development of hydroelectric projects in the James Bay region, which…read more

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