Line One
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton
Land Line Now senior correspondent

 

ROSES go out to everyone who participated in the Truck Convoy For Wishes, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The convoy, now in its ninth year, took place on May 2 at Battlefield Harley Davidson in Gettysburg, PA. More than 200 truckers participated this year in an event that has grown bigger each year.

That’s not bad, considering that when it started back in 2002, the event had just 22 trucks. Like the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics, the foundation pairs each driver with a child who gets to ride along in the truck.

And also like that other special event, this is yet another example of truck drivers gathering for a great cause.

Some very special ROSES go out to Jasmine “Jazzy” Jordan who, at press time, was getting closer to finishing her cross-country run for the St. Christopher Fund.

Jazzy has overcome numerous obstacles along the way, including an early injury and some less than friendly folks in the town of Cookeville, TN, last April.

Jazzy and her dad, Lee, got stopped by a cop in Cookeville who told them that they were blocking traffic. Lee said he had called city officials before they got to town but never heard back. The cop stopped them again later on, things got heated, and Lee was threatened with jail time. Lee and Jazzy went to city hall and got a permit to complete the run.

Even her latest obstacle – a wreck in May when someone slammed into the back of Lee’s escort truck – couldn’t slow her down.

We don’t know exactly where she will be by the time you read this, but we hope it’s at the finish line, ready for a well-deserved rest.

This is both a ROSE and a RAZZBERRY that was sent in by several readers.

The ROSE part goes out to Mike Nichols, who wrote a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Wisconsin. Nichols recently defended truckers for their unfair treatment at the hands of the state Department of Transportation.

 And here’s where the RAZZBERRY comes in.

Nichols wrote that the state has neglected one of the busiest interchanges in the state, which is about 40 years old. The state has taken money meant for road funding and spent it on other things. The DOT itself even came out with a study in 1994 stating that the road was in bad shape and was unsafe.

Last year, the state finally decided they needed to do something about it. Rather than fix it, they put up a weight restriction to keep truckers from using it.

Now they are calling the situation an emergency and blaming those truckers for the damage, claiming that some truckers didn’t adhere to the weight restrictions. While that may be true, blaming a handful of truckers for 40 years of neglect that could have been prevented had the money gone to the right place is nothing short of arrogant.

The state could learn a lesson from Nichols, who, actually took the time before writing his column to talk to some truckers and find out what was really going on. But that would require work and effort, two concepts the Wisconsin DOT is obviously unfamiliar with. 

RAZZBERRIES to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for an editorial it published following the Obama administration’s rejection of the plan to toll Interstate 80 back in April.

The paper said the decision would create a budget crunch in Pennsylvania and urged the state to look into alternate methods of getting the money. It closed with the following line: “There is no free lunch now, except for the out-of-state truckers passing through Pennsylvania on I-80.”

Excuse me? How, exactly, are those truckers getting a free lunch? They pay fuel taxes and license fees to that state. And that’s not to mention the federal excise taxes for roads and bridges. Federal money, which we’re sure has found its way into Pennsylvania on more than one occasion.

The trouble here is that we have yet another example of a state taking money that was meant for transportation and diverting it to other uses.

So, to the editors of the Post-Gazette, if you want someone to harrumph at and roll your eyes at and cast the blame on, may we suggest rolling those eyes right on down the highway to the state capitol in Harrisburg? LL

 

>Terry Scruton may be reached at
terry_scruton@landlinemag.com

 
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