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  • Last modified 28 days ago (Feb. 1, 2024)

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Slogging through the muck

Looking to blame someone? Take your pick: El Nino, bad gravel, motor grader operators, their bossses, or transgender space invaders sent by China to cross the Rio Grande and stuff our ballot boxes.

Whoever your villain might be, the only way county roads might be made worse is if some would-be hero were to try a quick-fix solution.

Dumping yet more rock on roads that probably need to be rebuilt — with actual ditches, maintained against encroachment and weeds, and actual crowns instead of ditch-edging wind rows — would benefit only two thing: the bank accounts of quarry owners and the sellers of diesel fuel.

The county needs a master plan that should start with consulting experts, such as those at the University of Kansas, on how roads properly should be built and maintained. And that master plan should include training for all road maintainers.

The county also needs to face an inescapable truth: It has too many roads and needs to close some of them before the silent majority of taxpayers, who rarely venture down these roads, tire of tossing their tax dollars into potholes for makeshift repairs.

Residents who use the roads regularly need to be patient. A master plan eventually will get around to their road. Meanwhile, it is incumbent on the county to establish priorities for which roads need the most urgent attention then doing those roads right.

Trying to keep everyone happy until the next election hasn’t worked. Leadership isn’t about giving people whatever they want. It’s about convincing everyone what the best long-term course of action might be, doing it openly, and then getting people to buy into the logic of the plan.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified Feb. 1, 2024

 

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