Delaware Water Gap: a landmark border crossing or simply a pretty place to pay a toll?

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Within the lower 48, one the humblest of great border crossings is the Delaware Water Gap, separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey.My use of an oxymoron—“humblest” coupled with “great”—is deliberate. Because in most respects (certainly from a flatlander like me) it’s a geographic marvel, yet, outside of the surrounding region, little evidence suggests that it’s a …Read more…

Bridging the gap between state budgets.

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The unincorporated community of Upper Black Eddy clutches the western bank of the Delaware River as though its existence depends upon the aquatic arterial. Because it does.        It’s so small, the Census doesn’t even track it. Despite the fact the hotel operated by the Black family first operated at least 150 years ago, the …Read more…

Boundary battles over sparklers and smokes?

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We always look for the better deal first. It goes without saying. When two neighboring jurisdictions apply different regulations to a specific good or service for which great demand exists, the industry that financially depends on that good/service will gravitate toward the less stringent side of the boundary line. I’ve pointed this out before when …Read more…

Creature comforts, reinforced with concrete.

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Traveling along I-78 through northern New Jersey, about twelve miles west of Newark, drivers experience a reprieve from the endless array of New York suburbs as they speed through the Watchung Reservation.           On a map, it looks like this:But, despite the fact that it’s fundamentally a forest preserve, the infrastructure is a bit more sophisticated …Read more…

And on the seventh day…He created a market.

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With this article I venture into what may prove one of my most overtly political topics ever, possibly against better judgment.  Yet I wade into these waters as a deliberate challenge to myself, since I strive to separate the intensive political controversy that this tourist attraction elicits from what I think is more interesting and …Read more…

When a “road diet” removes not just the fat but the bone.

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Long perceived as one of the most automobile-dependent major cities in the country, Houston has made considerable strides in recent years toward diversifying its transportation options. The METRORail line, first proposed (and rejected) in 1983, took decades to develop, largely due to persistent political opposition.  However, with a 2001 groundbreaking, the 7.5-mile line, spanning from …Read more…

Peddling politics to pick your poison.

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If the free market could ever assume a bodily form, it would have to be a contortionist.  One of the wonders of our federalist system is how deftly and shrewdly private businesses navigate around ordinances and statutes.  While this is obvious when articulated in print, the real-word incarnations are often subtle.  These maneuverings manifest themselves …Read more…

Preservation by Neglect?

It’s understandable that, in an attempt to save a cherished object from deterioration, a caretaker would restrict human contact with it, while keeping it proudly on display. But what about when the powers-that-be simply bypass it? This rural scene in east-central Indiana may be rare, but the motivating spirit behind it takes place everywhere: Through …Read more…