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Improvement Of Country Roads

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The Governor of New Vork in bis m issage this year bas the following on good roads. As it pomea (rom a typical democral we would commend it to our state legislatura : "I renew my previoua ecommendations witli refereuce 1 1 the improvement ol country roads. While the bu tions upon this subject made in my animal message i year ago seemed to meel popular approval very generally throughout the Btate, they were misapprehended by some persons, who ap■1 to have Lnferred thai the plan, as pre8ented, involved the assumption by tlie State of control over the highways, or the heavy bonding of coui for the construction of aew roada and irnprovements. . Buch implicatioD was intended to be eonveyed in the recommendati The plan suggested involved merely the . uctiou at státe expense and ander state supervisión of tw highways running transversely througli each county, intersecting in aboutthe middle of the county 'il' at ís principal place, and so connected as to forma üetwork of wellbuilt roads through the state. It as not intended tliat the state should assume greater responsibility than this, but it was believed that to this extent the matter ot' road improvenieni was one of state importance - adding largely to the wealth ml attractivenesH of the state, as it would, by bringing agricultural lands into easier and closeraccess to the towne, enhancing the value of rural property, and ftttraeting, especially in the summer mpntha, large numbers of stranjjera to the state. I am as much opposed as any one can be to the assumption by the state of any unnecessary powera or vesponsihilities, but the initiative of o (jreat au andertaking as the systematie and scientilie improveincut of our highways must he taken by the state, or no genuine and general reform eau be accoinplished. The best individual efforts must neeesSftlily he local and spasmodic. The construction by the state, uhder the supervisión and direction, for instance of the state engineer, of two scientiiically built roads in each county, so that a person could start from New York or Buffalo, or Albany, or any other place and travel with speed and comfort through every county in the state without leaving the state roads, would be of incalculable beneüt totlie state at large, as well as to separate localities. The state roads would serve as object lessons in each eounty, stimulating local authorities to the improvement of other highways by presenting exainples of substantial construction, and by illustrating the material advantagee whicli aceompany ready and satisfaetory ineans of connnunication. JCxcept in the case of these two state roads, local control would be as complete as it is now. 1 need not remind you of the present disgraceful condition of our highways. For a great part of the year many of them are almost, if not quite, impassable. They are, aa a rule, inferior to those in other states, especially in Now England, and they are said to compare most unfavorably with those of England and the Continent. The fault has been in ignorance of construction, in lack of responsibility, and in waste of energy and money in maintenance. Sooner or later our state must begin a systematic attempt at improvement, or our farming lands will deprecíate still further in value, and other states will attract the wealth and population to which our resources and natural advantages entitle us. The cost of such a system of higliways as I have outlined would be great, and their completion would require many years, but no better time for inangurating the system will probably conie than the ]resent. There is now, practícally no state debt, and should it be deemed best to incur one for this purpose by a vote of the people, the si ij-lit in taxation would be more than compensated by the increase in material beneftts. It should not be forgotten, also, that whën once proper roads are constructed thecost oí maintenance, according to the testimony of competeni engineers, is comparativey slight, while with but little care the "roads will last for generationsj I commend this subject to your serious attention. A bilí incorporating the Executive's suggestions, and commonly known as the Uichardson bill, was introduced in the Sonate last year, but failed to receive the requisito numberof votes for passage. It is hoped that the measure may receive closerscrutiny this year and that the legislatura will not refuse to co-operate in securing for the state the beneftts of this great public improvement."


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier