In Michigan they say that the roads are actually safer during the snowy winters because all of the potholes finally get filled in.
A group called the Michigan Transportation Team (MTT) wants to change that perception by petitioning state lawmakers to invest more money in road construction.
In order to raise awareness, they held a contest this spring to identify the worst potholes in Michigan. Based on photo and video submissions, the winners were:
- West Mt. Hope in Lansing;
- S. Rauch Road in Monroe;
- Seventh and Rotterdam in Muskegon Heights; and
- Every road in Freeland.
The winners were awarded $370, which MTT said is the average additional operating cost that Michigan drivers pay each year due to the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and bridges. Winners were advised not to spend the prize money all in one place.
Unfortunately, the biggest pothole of all was discovered in the state budget. Just a few days after the winners were revealed, MDOT announced that revenues from gas taxes and vehicle registrations will be $84 million short of what the state needs to get $600 million in matching federal funds for construction projects. The result may be a significantly smaller amount of road work from 2011 to 2014.
Suddenly $370 doesn’t sound too shabby.
Reason No. 91 to avoid N.J.
If $370 per year in additional operating costs sounds high, a new study revealed that several states have it even worse.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group study released in April found that the roads in New Jersey cost drivers an average of $596 in additional costs, the highest in the country. California was a close second at $590, followed by Hawaii, Rhode Island and Oklahoma. Michigan didn’t even make the top 10.
The Research Group also reports that states are increasingly opting to privatize new or existing roads as a way to raise money for these long-overdue repairs.
So it looks like you’ll not only be on the hook for car repairs, but higher tolls as well.
Undercover down under
Police in Queensland, Australia, have come up with an interesting new way to increase their revenues: They’re installing covert speed cameras in a new fleet of unmarked vehicles.
The wrinkle is that the new unmarked vehicles don’t look like your typical patrol cars, ranging from Volkswagen Golfs to Hummers.
As part of the new “anywhere, anytime” campaign, the vehicles have each been equipped with cameras that can photograph the license plate of any vehicle they detect to be speeding.
Debuting over Easter weekend, when accidents tend to rise, three of the unmarked cars accounted for one-sixth of all the citations issued in the state over the holiday stretch.
However, many motorists object to such police tactics, and a group on Facebook is fighting back. Titled “Police Cars, Gotta catch ’em all,” the group is attempting to find and photograph each of the new vehicles and then post those photos on their Facebook group page. They’ve already revealed a few tricks employed by police, like putting bumper stickers or student driver emblems on the cars in order to look less suspicious.
The creator of the Facebook page said she was only trying to raise awareness of the vehicles in order to encourage drivers to comply with speed limits. And if you believe that, she’s got a smooth road in New Jersey to sell you, too.