Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Krugman, Maddow Smackdown

Jack Shafer takes down Paul Krugman and Rachel Maddow for their alarmist warnings of the unpaving of American highways. What Krugman and Maddow see as the decline of western civilization may just be a rational response to lack of use and alternative routes:
A strong case can be made that North Dakota and maybe a few other states are now paying the price—or not paying the price, as it were—for having overbuilt their road systems. The most recent federal numbers show that North Dakota has 86,842 miles of road, compared with next-door-neighbor Montana's 73,202 miles. Montana is similarly rural, but it's twice the size of North Dakota and has a 50 percent greater population. If Montana can function with 13,000 fewer miles of road than North Dakota, then North Dakota can unpave or abandon several thousands of miles of road without disintegrating. Montanans even drive more rural miles (PDF) than North Dakotans. South Dakota, which has about 25 percent more people than North Dakota, gets by with just 83,744 miles of road!

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