From pavement to gravel

Due to the recession, some governments have decided to convert paved roads into gravel roads. This has drawn some media attention. Jack Shafer at Slate argues that everyone should just calm down a little:

But the long-term road trend—unacknowledged in the stories—is that local, state, and federal governments have been on a paving binge for the last 50 years. According to federal government statistics, the country had 1.23 million miles of paved road and 2.31 million miles of unpaved road in 1960. By 2008, that ratio had flipped—2.73 million miles of paved road versus 1.32 million miles of unpaved. In other words, in a half century the infrastructure gained 1.5 million miles of paved road.

Schafer argues that the actual number of roads being turned to gravel is very small and that there might be good reasons for doing so with certain roads.

h/t The Infrastructurist