From politics to Potholes 2023

Potholes are a clear indication that politics have influenced the operation and maintenance of our roads and highways. A political candidate who uncritically promises that he or she is running for Highway District Commission to “Cut Taxes, “Cut Costs,” or “Improve Efficiency” is actually telling you, “Your future is filled with potholes.” Let me explain….

Potholes indicate neglected or deferred maintenance. Without appropriate and punctual maintenance, roads deteriorate. A fissure develops into a hole, and the hole develops into a pothole. Kootenai County is fortunate to have well-managed Highway Districts that recognize the significance of road maintenance.

When funding is reduced or does not maintain pace with costs, either operations or maintenance must be reduced. The transportation commissioners are forced to choose between not plowing snow or not maintaining the roads.

We all know what the commissioners will choose, particularly the politician, because operations are immediate (reelection) and maintenance is “down the road” (pardon the pun).

Local transportation makes our town habitable.

Maintaining local roads in good condition is essential for:

  • transportation to and from work and education;
  • deliver products to stores, factories, and enterprises (final mile),
  • transport goods from factories, farms, and ranches to the marketplace;
  • facilitating access for first responders and emergency services;
  • merely a means to reach acquaintances and neighbors.

Our community and economy would collapse without reliable transportation.

If your roof is leaking, do you wait until your home is a total loss, or do you repair the roof? If roads are not maintained and allowed to deteriorate, the replacement cost is between five and ten times the cost of periodic maintenance. We require qualified and experienced Highway District Commissioners in order to allocate these tax dollars wisely.

Local highway districts do not receive sufficient funding from state and federal highway use funds (gas tax) to adequately maintain and operate our public roads. The only additional source of funding available to municipal highway districts to adequately fund road maintenance is the local property tax. Highway districts need leaders with experience and common sense, not politicians, to establish priorities and standards for maintaining our roads with available funds.

The economy is expanding. When a new development is constructed, it is required to build and pay for the necessary infrastructure. Existing road safety and capacity impacts must be mitigated in all highway districts. Additionally, growth has enabled many districts to reduce or maintain the property tax burden on existing residences. We will not cease growth, but it will have less of an impact if we have commissioners who understand the process and enforce infrastructure standards for new developments.

Citizens of the Lakes Highway District, Post Falls Highway District, and Worley Highway District are able to elect local candidates who have the experience and qualifications to comprehend the importance of spending tax dollars wisely. Any candidate who states, “I will reduce taxes” is pandering and asking you to sacrifice lower costs in the present for higher costs in the future.

Do not believe candidates ‘endorsed’ by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC). To limit government spending, “cost reduction” or “tax reduction” may sound like a smart idea. Cost reductions for roads, highways, and bridges are equivalent to deficit expenditure.

Potholes will result from politics.

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