Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nanny on US-12.

A friend of mine noticed that traffic on Michigan Avenue (US-12) on the east side of Saline has become quite snarled, with traffic on the busy route now timed to be repeatedly stopped by the intersection lights. He called MDOT to point out the obvious inefficiency and to ask whether the timing of the lights had been altered. He was told that he was one of many who had called with the same inquiry, and that yes, the timing of the lights had been changed. Why? Well, MDOT had timed the lights to allow a smooth flow of traffic on Michigan Ave, but one of the US Department of Transportation's "secret drivers" had determined that the lights fell outside of the official federal guidelines for traffic light timing. MDOT was told to change the timing or risk losing its share of Government Asphalt (which is a lot like Government Cheese).

The mind reels from multiple assaults on its sensibilities with this bizarre tale: 1) The Federal Government has decided that traffic light timing is too important to leave to the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and MDOT, 2) the Federal government makes POOYA rules about traffic light timing (POOYA is a common business colloquialism, think about it for a bit)
and insists that they be enforced even when common sense guides otherwise, and 3) Federal employees are paid as highway ferrets to find criminal traffic lights! The first description that comes to mind is - staggering nincompoopery. It's time to take your wallet back from the chimpanzees.

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