Just Fix the Roads!

Editor, News-Registe:

Why are Wheeling drivers screaming, “Fix the damn roads,” when driving east from Ohio over Wheeling’s I-70’s broken half-mile stretch, taking the ramp off to 10th Street and south down broken Main Street to Center Wheeling, or north up broken downtown Market Street or up broken 12th Street, to broken Chapline Street to broken 18th Street? They must think, this drive is like leaving affluent America and descending into tramp town? If drivers need more abuse, they can take the downtown ramp off I-70 West down broken 16th Street for an adventure on the low road.

It’s a good bet Wheeling drivers have heard themselves muttering, “I’ve had enough of busted tires, broken suspensions and tie rods, disturbed steering alignments?!!! My washed and waxed pride and joy is turning into a bucket of bolts.”

Fender flapping, windows wagging, seat cushions sagging, residents find their selves screaming “Fix the damn streets!!!”

Paddy Chayefsky’s character, TV anchor, Howard Beale — going mad by a crumbling society he cannot correct — is currently emoting on a Broadway stage; if only he could be in Wheeling raging on TV screens: “Open your Windows and scream, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Imagine 15,000 Wheeling windows opening simultaneously, and residents screaming, “Why aren’t our elected representative not badgering the governor, the Senate, the Assembly, informing them, ‘Our constituents are screaming, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!'” Is it possible someone in government would get this message — fix the damn streets!

An estimated 60,000 vehicles cross I-70 through Wheeling daily; that could be as many as 120,000 riders bouncing over a minefield of pot holes, cracks, and crumbing shoulders on their short jaunt through the panhandle. Those drivers taking an off-ramp to grab a bite and sight, hit the broken streets, swing a U-turn, back on their way, and pass the word.

And Wheeling’s delegates and senators bounce on by and don’t give the busted streets a thought, bemoaning, we need to bring new bring businesses here and our youthful diaspora back to Wheeling. Unfortunately, their energies are fixed on beating up on welfare mommies, throwing worker compensation recipients under the bus, holding fast on the sacrosanct 5 percent severance tax, devising new burdens on our working population, ramrodding a carrot and stick teachers’ bill into law before the public blinks, and digging up more body parts for the Frankenstein medical marijuana bill and the Bride of Frankenstein — recreational marijuana.

Back to poking our heads out windows and screaming, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Could such delirious cacophony reach the mayor, head over heels in parking lot shenanigans and choking out new tax schemes? Could the cacophony reach the city’s two delegates — the lawyer currently chasing Mr. and Mrs. Marijuana Frankenstein around the Capitol’s marble hallways to destroy their deranged brains; or the chamber of commerce commander, currently dining out at ethnic restaurants she was unable to recruit to downtown Wheeling; or the new state senator whose very-first bill deprives lawmakers of backdoor money making?

It seems all the gifts to the fossil fuel industries, all the deregulations to the fossil fuel industries, and all the surrendering of workers welfare to the fossil fuel industries cannot mitigate one perilous drive over Wheeling’s tumultuous streets.

Some of us might not be up to screaming,” I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore.” But when we drive on Chapline Street past City Hall, where our heads goes boop-a=doop and our tongues shimmies and shakes in our mouths, our teeth chatter, our lips babble, our fenders “shake it all about,” let us encourage our horns to scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Perhaps it will jolt the mayor from devising new tax schemes. If we don’t, we could all end up like Howard Beale — loony as a loonybird.

Sonny Fair



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