As i mentioned yesterday, my wife and I spent the week in South Carolina last week enjoying the Grand Strand. This, of course, entailed a bit of a drive to get down there since we reside in south-central Pennsylvania. The drive itself wasn’t terribly bad except for a few snags here and there. However, when you live in Pennsylvania there is one moment when you know you’re home. You see the moment you cross the state line into PA from Maryland something interesting happens.
The quality of the roads goes straight to hell.
Now you might think this is an exaggeration, but I assure you it is not. When you reach the famed Mason-Dixon line that marks the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania you can actually see the line on the road where the well-maintained blacktop of Maryland ends and the less than stellar asphalt of Pennsylvania begins. It is truly an unbelievable sight.
One would think that PennDOT would have enough pride left in them that they would at least maintain a mile of two and let it fade into the rubble of the Pennsylvania interstate system rather than the harsh dividing line. But, then again anyone who lives in Pennsylvania knows that PennDOT is an organization rife with graft, nepotism, and corruption. Gotta love Pennsylvania politics.
Now, lest those who live outside the state think I am tossing about hyperbole I have an unbiased source to back me up. Overdrive magazine, a publication for over the road truckers and the like, does an annual Highway Report Card of the roads across the country. They rate individual highways best, worst, and most improved as well as giving overall ratings to the states. Pennsylvania has regularly been first on the list of worst states. There was a bright spot in 2010 as I-80 in Pennsylvania was voted most improved, but in spite of this the state as a whole is still rated worst in the 2010 Report Card.
I must say there is something comforting about being able to tell when you’re back in your home state even if your eyes are closed. Who needs a sign welcoming you to Pennsylvania when we have our wonderful roads?
(As a humorous side note to this, three state senators recently proposed charging a toll of $1 for cars and $5 for trucks entering the state. Yes, that’s right, they want to charge you for the privilege of driving on our crappy roads.)