This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 29, 2008 - I'm indebted to our presentation editor for pointing out an article in the Southern Illinoisan: "The Illinois Department of Transportation will limit the amount of road-kill they remove (it removes) from the highway because of an expensive winter, District Nine Operating Engineer Kevin Grammer said.
"The department had $40 million budgeted for snow and ice removal for the winter and ended up spending $86 million on the weather that coated the region in ice. With rising fuel costs, Grammer said the “budget shortfalls” are forcing them to limit the number of carcasses pulled off the highway.
“If an animal is in the road and a hazard to a motorist and the public we’ll pick it up,” Grammer said.
THAT EXPLAINS IT!
I recently drove from Miami to Red Hook, N.Y., to St. Louis. Some things were fine about the drive -- barbeque in South Carolina, driving through the salt marshes in Georgia, visiting a college roommate, stopping at Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio -- but others weren't.
My first pet peeve were the tunnels of trees that have grown up on either side of I-95, I'm certain by design. Miles and miles of trees get monotonous -- and I kept trying to remember the "Route 66" show when either Martin Milner or George Maharis was hypnotized by the repeating white line. Would I be hypnotized by trees? No, I began to notice something else (other than the South of the Border signs that you know about if you've driven through South Carolina) -- animals, dead animals.
I think Illinois isn't the only state that's cut back on its roadkill-recovery budget. Too many dead animals, too many crows.