Our Sunday report about the early onset of pothole season caused quite a stir. Other news organizations jumped on the story, and soon, the new Pittsburgh mayor, Bill Peduto, was ordering a 72-hour "blitz" by road crews to fill as many potholes as possible.
All well and good, but if the city wants to get the upper hand on potholes, it must pave more than the 40 or so miles that it typically does in a construction season. The city has about 1,000 lane-miles of streets to maintain, and good practice would be to repave them at least once every decade. That means a 100-mile paving program each year.
Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski wants the city to build its own asphalt plant, or enter a joint venture with Allegheny County to build such a facility.
An extended Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance for PennDOT, whose driver's license and photo centers will be closed Saturday and Monday.
Gasoline price update: The average per-gallon price in Pennsylvania as of today, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, was $3.532. That is up 7.5 cents since Dec. 30. The transportation bill passed in November effectively raised the Pennsylvania gasoline tax by 9.5 cents on Jan. 1, and shifted all taxation to the wholesale level. There was some disagreement over whether the entire tax increase would be passed to consumers at the pump. At this point, the tax increase clearly has pushed up the price, but not quite as much as some had feared.
The national average price today was 3.306, or 22.6 cents lower than Pennsylvania's average.
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