Fixing potholes is one of the more mundane aspects of local government. Suddenly, because Milwaukee streets are so old and because city residents are unwilling or unable to pay the very high special assessments for street reconstruction the city levies and because of the weird weather we've been having and because of difficult city budgets, potholes are big and potholes are big news.
Municipalities -- especially older ones -- are rather trapped on this one. Their streets are the oldest and most in need of repair; state-imposed property tax limits reduce communities' ability to raise revenue; and the state continues to reduce, in real terms, the money it gives to cities to deal with local road issues.
Instead, the state is pouring money into freeway expansion projects like the North-South I-94 fiasco. By the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's own admission, the unfunded $1.9 billion-plus-hundreds-of-millions-in-interest-costs will provide minimal traffic improvement and will likely hurt efforts to redevelop Milwaukee's aging commercial corridors.
So when you break an axle, a bicycle, a motorcycle or some bones trying to get to that big freeway that doesn't do much for anybody except cost them money, please remember to thank the Wisconsin Department of Transportation!