Starve the beast, buy a pothole?


The village of Niederzimmern in eastern Germany is selling potholes for 50 euros. But this isn’t a case of anarchists, libertarians and teagarten partisans run amok trying to bring down government.

Rather, the AFP news agency and the The Local online newspaper reports that Niederzimmern is trying to have some fun handling a mess of potholes caused by severe winter weather. The global recession has stressed local governments’ ability to do roadwork.

This does bring to mind Minnesota’s successful “Adopt a Highway” program that has volunteers substituting for public employees. It works fairly well, but not perfectly.

A few years back, the president of Southwest Minnesota State University left to take a similar post out of state. Faculty friends presented him with an “Adopt a Highway” plaque for a section of state highway on the assumption they would get an annual visit when the former president returned to clean his road ditch.

Alas, it didn’t work. But some group in the Marshall area is keeping the roadway clear. Potholes, however, may need properly funded public works.