Part of the street I live on here in Bath, Maine has been torn up for several weeks. When a road is not resurfaced properly it has to eventually be rebuilt. That is what is happening across the nation as local and state governments, currently in fiscal crisis, don't have the funds for proper road maintenance.
All across the country the road repair bills are mounting up to the point many communities are returning them to gravel. In Spiritwood, North Dakota residents report seeing ducks floating in big potholes in the road.
In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years. Last year, South Dakota turned at least 100 miles of asphalt road surfaces to gravel. Counties in Alabama and Pennsylvania have begun downgrading asphalt roads to cheaper chip-and-seal road, also known as "poor man's pavement." Some counties in Ohio are simply letting roads erode to gravel.
Rebuilding an asphalt road today is particularly expensive because the price of asphalt cement, a petroleum-based material mixed with rocks to make asphalt, has more than doubled over the past 10 years. Gravel becomes a cheaper option once an asphalt road has been neglected for so long that major rehabilitation is necessary.
Some experts caution that gravel roads can be costlier in the long run than consistently maintained asphalt because gravel needs to be graded and smoothed. A gravel road "is not a free road," says Purdue University's John Habermann, who organized a recent seminar about the resurgence of gravel roads titled "Back to the Stone Age."
These are just small examples of how America is literally falling apart as our Congress funds two endless wars in the Middle East and Central Asia and continues to increase military spending for an already bloated Pentagon.
Until the public begins to make these links and demands that the politicians cut war spending then we will continue to see a decline and reversal of life here in America.
The U.S. is no longer #1 in most indicators of the good life. But we just might be #1 as the country in quickest decline - we are witnessing the Third Worldization of America.