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Hot Mix Asphalt May Be Sexy, But Cutting it Won't Save the Budget

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Opinion: Sexy Hot Mix Asphalt

NBC10.com

Nicetown neighbors woke up Wednesday to find the tires on their vehicles flat. Philadelphia Police say a five block area was hit by vandals.

Gov. Jerry Brown has moved to eliminate more than 700 state reports deemed unnecessary.

Sounds like a good idea -- why bother with reports no one reads?

But then I found a recent report on what California is doing with its waste tires -- that is tires that would be thrown away.

"According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (Board), California generated 40.8 million waste tires in the year 2005. Of these tires, 30.6 million were diverted from landfills through recycling, reusing, retreading, and as tire-derived fuel.

"For the approximate 10.2 million tires that did not have an established secondary use, the expansion of the existing markets for waste tire usage such as Rubber Hot Mix Asphalt (RHMA)1, playground mats or other surfacing, civil engineering applications, and tire-derived fuels will assist in addressing potential tire stock pile issues and their associated environmental impacts."

And that's just the first paragraph. Who wouldn't keep reading? What's sexier than Hot Mix Asphalt?

Seriously, this sort of ballyhooed cut by Brown is fine. But it doesn't save much money.

Given the governor's unwillingness to tackle the hard job of fixing the utterly broken budget process, announcements like these could be seen as a way of doing symbolic reforms to distract from the fact that bigger changes aren't being made. Such little moves like this may have political value as Brown seeks voter approval for temporary tax increases this fall.

But it's better than nothing. Or more accurately, nothing is better than some of these reports.

Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

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