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The Roads Less Traveled

Sometimes, it's not the big splashy headlines about political shenanigans or declining employment or dire student test scores that signal the kind of trouble our state is trying to fight its way out of. Sometimes, it's the little-noticed reports that hit the hardest, like the one today from the County Road Association of Michigan.

The County Road Association of Michigan said Tuesday that 35 miles were returned to gravel in 2009. Thirty-eight counties have combined to pulverize about 100 miles of pavement and lay down gravel in the past few years.

The main reason is because counties lack money to reconstruct or repave deteriorating roads.

Like many people around here, I've always felt that metro Detroit set itself up for failure by allowing its dependence on the auto industry to overshadow the need for quality public transportation, and our sprawling, pocked highways and battered road system are, in some ways, part of that legacy. But as the guys over at Michigan Liberal, one of my favorite political blogs, point out, this isn't just about poor planning coming back to bite us, nor is it about troubles in just one corner of the state or another.

I mean, really ... this is just plain ridiculous. This isn't just some partisan foodfight where the Republicans are sticking it to the Democrats by way of refusing to raise taxes, this is the ebbing away of a civilization that has evolved over thousands of years.

Indeed.

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