D-plus? Oh, my God. I passed! I passed! Oh, man! I got a D-Plus!

About 73 percent of Illinois roads are rated to be in poor or mediocre shape, according to the report issued Tuesday by the American Society of Civil Engineers (Chicago Tribune). As I read on and saw that Illinois received a D+ on their infrastructure report I just had to laugh.

I mean, for whatever strange coincidence I threw in Tommy Boy over the weekend and let me tell you, it has lasted the test of time.


Illinois has turned into that joke and everyone standing around wondering what the state is cheering for. So for the past how many years we approve projects left and right for the sake of “jobs” that come with building of new roads. As a keen observer, I have a hunch that repairing the bridges and roads we already have and reducing the amount of new roads projects for the sake of “jobs” might be an approach to strongly and swiftly consider. In fact, there are plenty of good jobs involved in that.

This can no longer be business as usual. In a state that also has some crippling debts hanging above it like a grey storm cloud, we really need to reconsider our approach not just in transportation, but also economic development.

One piece of the article that drives home this point:

Beat-up roads cost Illinois drivers $2.4 billion annually in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs, or $292 per motorist, said the report, which noted that Illinois has the fifth-highest state motor fuel tax, at 39.1 cents per gallon.

Illinois has the 5th highest state motor fuel tax, yet that still isn’t enough. Obviously we have miscalculated what it costs to keep things up to par with at least a B average. The cost of driving has not been passed on to the drivers. Politicians and city leaders will cringe, but it is exactly what this state needs. A movement fueled (no pun intended) by Smart Growth, Complete Streets, and one that embodies the principles of  Strong Towns.

This will directly reinvest in what we have first, creating environments not built solely as car sewers. It helps in too many ways that I’m too tired to go on about today.

Apparently they give a lot fewer D-pluses than D-minuses. It’s not a grade they like to give out. I’ll tell you that right now. – Tom Callahan Jr.

Although it may be hard to imagine, this is in part the foundation of why I created GO URBAN, YOUNG MAN. You should check it out, donate, share with your friends. You can even Like the Go Urban Facebook page.

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3 thoughts on “D-plus? Oh, my God. I passed! I passed! Oh, man! I got a D-Plus!

  1. Rick Brown says:

    I have long wondered if the state of roads in Illinois, Michigan, NY, Ohio, and Pennsylvania has something to do with shoddy oversight of contractors, who may or may not be mob controlled/financed. Minnesota, Vermont, and other states have just as bad weather, but you do not see the same problems with their roads. Just a thought…

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