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Cuts affect America’s highways

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — Will this winter weather never end? Jeanette and I have been traveling even more than usual this spring to escape the cold and pollen. We’ve visited much of the desert Southwest plus our most southwestern state of Hawaii.

It has been cold everywhere. There’s no escaping it. The global cooling fans are ecstatic; claiming this proves global warming is a bunch of hooey. It really doesn’t prove anything other than we had a cold, wet winter.

Climate change doesn’t occur that quickly. In fact, there is increasing evidence that our planet goes through warm and cool cycles about every 500 years. As I understand, our current warm period started in 1850 so no one who is arguing about it now will still be around when it ends.

The Utah House of Representatives recently passed a resolution by a wide margin declaring no confidence in global warming predictions. The resolution has no legal effect. It may be intended to send a message saying not to mess with pollution regulations on their oil and coal industries.

Are people doing anything to add to the natural global warming on our Earth? It may still be debatable but clean water and air are worthy goals whether they reduce global warming or not. Just don’t worry too much about whether we are facing the end of life as we know it.

Speaking of life-ending catastrophes, we have boldly faced two this spring and come away without a scratch. I’ve written before about being evacuated from our beachfront cottage at 5 a.m. on our first night in Hawaii.

A major earthquake off Chile created fears of a tsunami, which turned out to be barely discernable.

We were told that tsunamis aren’t just big waves. They are similar to the flash floods we have in the mountainous desert — a huge wall of water.

A month later, during our first night in Palm Springs, Calif., which sits directly atop the San Andreas Fault, we were awakened at 2 a.m. by an earthquake. The magnitude-4.5 quake was too minor to be mentioned on the news but novices, such as we were, worried about what was coming next when the shaking and rumbling started.

We learned from friends later that quakes that small aren’t worth talking  

about but that the 7.2 magnitude quake a month earlier did create a lot of buzz.

Traveling the roads of southern Arizona and California, we had an opportunity to experience those states’ budget-trimming moves. California roads were in terrible shape. Many Arizona rest stops were closed and vans with speeding cameras were everywhere.

California has only red light cameras at this point but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now is pushing speeding cameras with heavy fines going to the state. We also were warned that five-mile-an-hour cushions on speeding are disappearing.

Grass and weeds are no longer being mowed on the roadsides and medians. They are growing faster with the wet winter and spring. The wild flowers are beautiful and the sides of normally dry hills now are green almost everywhere.

Late winter and spring are our usual time to travel. We often have noted the impact of college spring breaks on southern beaches but evidently we haven’t done much traveling during the Easter period. Highways and hotels were very crowded the week before and week after Easter.

On the Monday after Easter, traffic going north over Hoover Dam inched at a snail’s pace. It took an hour to get across because of the heavy traffic. The last two spans on the impressive bypass both have only two more sections to be completed. At the rate work has progressed so far, it should only take another two or three years to complete it.

E-mail Jay Miller at

insidethecapitol@hotmail.com