In an absolutely stellar example of how the free market does just about everything better than the government, Domino’s Pizza has taken on the task of repairing America’s crumbling road infrastructure.
That’s right, folks. The pizza chain that brought you a medium pizza for six dollars is now filling potholes and fixing worn-down roads in towns all across America.
Putting state departments of transportation to shame, Domino’s has launched this initiation to fill “cracks, bumps, potholes and other road conditions that can put good pizzas at risk after they leave the store”.
Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA and a marketing genius said in a press release that Domino’s “don’t want to lose any great-tasting pizza to a pothole, ruining a wonderful meal. Domino’s cares too much about its customers and pizza to let that happen.”
This new initiative is being called “Paving for Pizza.” So far Domino’s has started road repairs in four different towns: Bartonville, TX, Milford, DE, Athens, GA, and Burbank, CA. In Milford alone, Domino’s road-warriors apparently filled 40 potholes on 10 roads in less than 10 hours.
Now just imagine if the government moved that quickly?
To nominate their city for the Paving for Pizza campaign, Domino’s customers can go to the Paving for Pizza website and enter their zipcode.
Imagine if, instead of waiting around to send four guys with one shovel to toss a little gravel into the gaping holes in our roads, America’s various DOT’s did what Dominos has done.
Imagine a world in which you could use a cleverly designed and user-friendly app to report a pothole in the road you usually drive to work. Maybe you could even pitch in a few dollars for a bucket or two of gravel, and once enough users in the area bought into it, the road company would come by and fix the busted road.
Imagine if, instead of paying more than fifty cents on the gallon in taxes, most of which will be plundered for unrelated projects and critically mismanaged away anyway, you paid only for the roads you wanted and used?
Americans, on average, pay about $264 each year in gasoline taxes. If that money went to private companies instead of a corrupt government which critically misuses it, maybe potholes would actually get fixed. The federal government alone raised $35 billion dollars from the gas tax in 2014. State governments combined raised another $42 billion. And yet American roads are in worse condition than ever.
Our roads are so bad that our pizza companies are paving the worst places just so they can deliver their damn pizzas on time and without destroying the tasty merchandise along the way.
Gas taxes do largely go towards maintaining the roads. The taxes that are collected at the pump go towards benefiting the drivers who use the roads. And those who use more gas, ie, those who use the roads the most, pay a greater portion of the cost of their upkeep.
So the concept of gas taxes isn’t necessarily the problem.
The problem is that the governments of the states frequently and horrifically mismanage their road maintenance projects. And it seems the places with the highest gas taxes have the worst roads.
Pennsylvania comes in at the top of the tax curve, with a state gas tax of 58.2 cents on the gallon. Combined with the 18.4 cent federal tax, PA drivers are paying a whopping 76.6 cents on every gallon of gas straight into the government’s pocket.
But ask any native Pennsylvanian how well their roads are maintained, and you’ll get the same answer; very very poorly.
The same is true in the state of Washington, which charges 49.4 cents per gallon and still provides some of the worst road infrastructure in the nation. New York is also notorious for its congested and poorly maintained roads, and their gas tax is the third highest at 43.88 cents per gallon.
Ohio, with its relatively low tax of 28.01 cents on the gallon, has some of the best roads in the country. Its northern neighbor, Michigan, has a 40.44 cent tax, and considerably worse roads.
If the argument made by “muh government roads” people, that we need more revenue from the public to support better roads, is really true, then why do the states with the highest gas taxes often seem to have such poorly maintained roads?
When you examine the data, in fact, it seems that the ten states consistently ranked the best in terms of road quality all have gas taxes that hover well below the national average.(Minnesota, Utah, Kentucky, and Ohio are prime examples.) It seems these states can somehow meet their infrastructure needs better while charging consumers less than other states at the gas pump.
Which sort of throws into question the whole point of gas taxes anyway. If so many states are doing less with more, why are we still using gas taxes to fund road infrastructure anyway?
Maybe its time to give road privatization a more serious look.