Government Should Repair Streets

By nature of my work, I spend a number of hours each week in and around South Dakota’s most populous city: Sioux Falls. As a result, I am quite aware of the marvelous crop of potholes which have arisen throughout that fair city over the winter months. With that said, I had to laugh a bit when reading this article:

[]The City of Sioux Falls Public Works department is beginning its most aggressive campaign ever to repair potholes and make permanent street repairs, Mayor Dave Munson announced today.

Beginning this week, the City will deploy crews into all areas of the city to fill potholes. Once weather further moderates, the City will begin a $33 million street construction program to address 1,200 blocks across Sioux Falls.[]

One of the functions of a city (indeed, one could say the primary function) is proper maintenance of public roads. A city does not need to build an events center, or homeless hotels (though the county is footing the bill for that one) or even to engage in efforts to entice new businesses to put down roots–unless and until it has properly addressed all infrastructure issues. (And it should not do anything which can be better handled by a non-public entity.) Any other approach is little more than putting new wine in an old winesack.

I am glad to see that Sioux Falls is doing what it should. I don’t think, however, that we need an “aggressive campaign” so much as we need a thoughtful, measured approach to performing those tasks which are properly within the purview of local government.