There is nothing more full of cronyism than road repair, with the possible exceptions of trash collection and banking. Often firms with connections to local politicians get sweetheart deals (not always, sometimes there is real bidding for jobs) and nice cushy projects which seem to take forever to get done.
I used to have an office next to a courthouse and I once watched a construction company pull up a brick crosswalk in front of the court, a year old crosswalk mind you, and then take 2 weeks to lay down new brick. I asked one of the public defenders why the project happened at all, seeing as the original crosswalk was nearly brand new. He explained that the walk was not even and so had to be redone.
I walked across that bit of brick every day. The bricks were as even before the project as they were after the project.
Multiply this scenario by 1000 and you have what goes on in Baltimore or Cleveland every day.
No wonder we can’t get anywhere anymore.
The attached article explains how a group of business people in Hawaii gave up on the usual process for road construction and fixed an important thoroughfare themselves. Had they waited on the state the repair might have taken 2 years. With the discipline of the market in charge the road was completed in 8 days.
Was the road constructed well? Time will tell, but as the road was repaired by people with businesses which depend on the traffic the road facilitates I’m willing to bet that the road holds up nicely.
We need more of this sort of thing.