As I stroll along the sidewalks of New Orleans (carefully, I might add, as they are often broken), I often chance upon sewer lines leaking, with algal growth accompaniment from all the nutrients available to the slime. Daily, I drive my vehicle down the broken, pock-marked streets which are more akin to a war zone than those of a developed nation. I sit back now and wonder “Where is my tax money going”? Well, I went digging (it didn’t take long) and found the city budget. There’s a bunch of legalese to wade through, but it pays off for the patient. There appears to be a load of items for “administration”, but very little of the budget actually goes to road repair. This frustrates me to no end. I found a piece from 2010 claiming such horrid roads cost an average of $681 per NOLA driver per year!! Inflamed would be an understatement of my reaction to this. Add to this the fact that main thoroughfares are just about the only roads being repaired, and one could easily get the feeling that this is only to polish up the city for tourists. How difficult is it to at least patch poor residential roads?
This is compounded by the fact that sewer and water lines are also leaking like a sieve underneath, further deteriorating the roadways. This is nothing new around here. Why can’t public works go in and repair a pipe and evenly patch over the area, if they don’t have all the money to do a complete overhaul? Oh, that’s right–we have to pay for a streetcar to nowhere, or repave some section of the CBD or French Quarter for the umpteenth time. Although residential roads don’t have the lion’s share of traffic, this could be a circular issue: low traffic volume leads to disrepair leads to lower traffic volume. In reality, the people of New Orleans should have the streets in front their homes in good repair because they actually pay for that service. If the traffic volume is lower, it only stands to reason that said repaired roads would last longer than main traffic arteries.
Now some will say to further increase spending on what I see as an already wasteful bureaucracy, but perhaps the city government needs to be more discerning in how they make and disburse their budget. Personally, I do not like having to pay for services I do not receive (and have no choice on paying), but if I am to pay, I would like to at least have a service provided that makes sense and is useful to me in some shape or fashion.
For now, though, I’ll simmer, slosh, and bounce around our little City of Dis, wondering what we did here to deserve this needless suffering.