Channel 19

Todd Dills

If you thought our roads were bad…

| July 16, 2009

A fascinating look at the state of roads in Russia comes this week from span style=”font-style: italic;”L.A. Times/span writer Megan K. Stack — link here — and it’s told largely from the point of view of that country’s truckers, who paint a picture of a world where, once you leave major cities, you’re running on bone-jarring two-lane multi-patched pavement that might call to your mind the most bumpy haul you’ve ever endured. The story’s headline, “Russia missed out on chance to improve its roads,” tempts me to make comparisons to the current political situation surrounding the highway reauthorization (as the Senate votes to extend current programs and House leaders jockey to hammer a new program through), but it feels like the comparison is perhaps not so direct and Russia’s story might be more of an extreme cautionary tale. While American roads may have languished a bit through economic boom times in the 1990s and earlier this decade, the situation here is much less dire. Doesn’t mean we don’t have our own problems, of course.

For the latest on the highway-bill battle, see yesterday’s New York Times story about the Senate panel vote to extend current authorization, or the D.C. Streetsblog report on the same subject.

The Russia story comes with a photo gallery, too.