OUR VIEW: Michigan needs roads scholars

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:32 am on Thursday, May 01, 2014

Welcome to Michigan! You’ve undoubtedly seen the message on the signs welcoming highway travelers entering our state’s borders.

The greeting, intended as a sincere welcome to travelers and tourists entering our state, is fast becoming a sarcastic reference to the rumble and bump initiation to the deplorable condition of Michigan roadways.

But let’s look back at where we once were …

• 1909: Detroit was the first city in the world to pave a concrete road.

• 1919: The first four-way, three-color traffic light was installed at Woodward and Michigan avenues in Detroit.

• 1942: The first modern urban freeway, Davison Freeway, was opened in Detroit.

Michigan’s slide from automobile capital of the world to a hopefully nascent recovery of our state’s historic industry is offering promise, but no guarantees. We build automobiles, and the state is loaded with companies producing parts, but they need transportation arteries.

Enter now: The absolute incompetence of our state legislators in leading a state that thrives not only on transportation for building automobiles, but for tourism. Their performance is abysmal.

What about manufacturing jobs? In recent years, we have gleefully made great new trails from old railroad beds. Good stuff, really, for recreation. But there’s a trade-off for these scenic trails. The companies that hire people and build stuff need transportation routes. If it isn’t railroads, it has to be roads.

It’s time Michigan citizens mounted an all-out assault on a legislature that to-date apparently lacks the courage to make the moves that make modern and marketable moves for our state’s future.

As for the rest of us, we’d better step up.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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