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Fighting For Good Roads

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The Q; '.'„ for good country roads i3 gro'n r every day. More men are toking it up and the battle methods iro constantly being improved upon. Thfl coming sessiona of, thn varióos state atures wil] eee many a bill intro1 tn bring about common sense imta of highways, and let us i ')is wil] also see the pasese bilis with a rush. D which will be carried on in the New York state legislatura is : fair sample of whattho friendsof road improvement wil] do in many -. Of it Mr. Isaac B. Potter, who is u the thick of it, e "T! son bilí wfeioh was introdnood in the senate last winter wil] open the campaign again this year, and its chances for succoss good. vvinter il received a nnmerical majority in the senate, laclring only two votes of tbe necessary two-thirds for passage. Last session it did not go to the assembly, but if it passes the senate this winter it will go to the assembly witfa a vengeanoe and the backing of of the most influential and intelligent men in that body. "It praetically carries out the suggestiona made by Governor Hill in his latest amraal message calliag for a $10,000.000 constitntional loan to be raisod on the credit of the state, and payable in seventeen years. The money thus obtained is to be devoted to the construction and maintenance of country roads, exactly in line with the policy which Governor Hill advocated as follows: " 'It has been snggested that the state should proceed to constrnct througb every county two highways running in different directions and intersecting each other in al)out the center of the county, such roads to fonn a part of a píete general system, those in each county to conuect with thoso of adjoining connties, and to bo known everywhere as state roads, constmeted, cared for and maintained at the expense of the at large, under direction and supervisión of the state engineer and surveyor, or other competent authority to be designated. " 'This system, when once completed, would enable a person to start from New York city, Albauy or any other point on foot or in a carriage, and visit every county in tho state without once leaving the state roads, thus insuring comfort, convcnicncc, pleasure and I . These roads should be macadamized or constructed of CTUshed stone or other suitable material, with proper culverts, good liridges, adequate drainage, watering trougha and sign boards, so as to compare favorably with the best country roads in other countries, and existing highways could be utilized for this purpose as far as feasible. " 'These state roads would not only prove of great convenience and vast advantage to tho whole community, but they would serre as "object lessons" to local authorities, the effect of which would nocessarily tend to improve the ordinary town highways and prove of inestimable benefit. " 'It is realized that tho project here suggested would require mauy years to fully carry out, and tho outlay of a vast sum of money; but tho state is practically out of debt, and it is believed that (here are 110 constitutional objections to be overeóme, and bcforc any debt is contracted for the parpóse the question of tho propriety of the expenditure should bo submitted to the people of tho state. The subject is of sufficient importanee to merit the cai-eful consideration of the legislature.' "This Richardson bill," continuod Mr. Potter, "has been greatly misunderstood, especially in the rra-al districts, vhi-h TfOftlll renp tlic Inrgoofc aharo of benefit frorn it. If it were made a law it would insurc to the farmers of Ï, o.t York state at least 3,000 miles of good roads, to bo constructed and constantly kept in repair at the expense of tho state. Moreover, the tax paid by the farmer would bo materiallyless than that Which he pays under the present systein. A careful computation, bascd on statistics f rom every county in the state, shows that the farmers would pay only 8 per cent. of the taxes on the new roads, while tho cities would meet the other 92 per cent., but still no injustice is done to the towns. "Tho advantages of good roads in the rural distnets would affect fnvorably tho prices of nearly every sort of produce which the city man is obliged to buy. As the cost of production would be reduced to the farmer he could afford to sell his wares for less money to the city man, without making his own profit column ahorter. And that the cost of production would be lessened is evident to every man who knows anything of the saving in wear and tear on horses and rehicles which is brouglit about where the farmers' loads can le liauled over hard, smooth and well kept roads, instead of the mired and rutty abominations now in vogue. "Mr. Richardson re.presents a farming commuuity, and his bill is drawn in the interests of his constituants. ïhe main opposition is expected from the cities, but it is hoped that it will not be very strong." Mr. Potter has been sending to prominent men in all states drafts of bilis for introduction in their legislaturas, which will of course be niodified to suit local conditions. The interest feit in the matter is showu by tho fact that applications for such documenta are pouring in on hiia from all sections of the country. The campaign which is being waged is vigorous and original. The workers aro convinced that all that is necessary is to show tho people that good roads would really b:ient them to gain their co-operation. Mr. Potter saya ho would like to have every man in the United States who oivns a camera send to him photos of every particularly bad road in his vicinity, and of thedilemmas brought about thereby - of loads stuck in the mud, of vehicles overtm-ned by the mountaiiis of gravel which inake many roads impassable, and which are labeled 'improvempnts;" in short, of evorj'thing which wight be used by the advocates of road reform a" a "bnforfi taking."


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Ann Arbor Courier