Summer brings traffic cones, but as annoying as sitting behind an asphalt spreader may be, paving done in the summer makes the ride smoother all year round.
The city of Charleston will pave 10 miles of streets this summer, a $1 million expenditure financed by the $2 weekly user fee, which is paid by people who work in the city.
That fee is dedicated to paving and the police department. Well-maintained roads are an essential service of government, just as public safety is.
Charleston City Council said decisions will be based on engineers' assessments of need.
Eight of the 21 wards in the city will not see a single paving project, including the ward represented by finance committee Chairman Bobby Reishman.
"It used to be that the only times streets were paved was when we had elections," Reishman told the Daily Mail's Paul Fallon. "But that's not how it's done now."
Edward Talkington, another councilman whose ward was shut out, told Fallon, "You can't expect to have paving spread out through all 21 wards every year."
Basing maintenance on need is a test that should apply to all infrastructure projects on all levels. The days of a Sen. Robert C. Byrd - or to be fair, Dan Inouye, Ted Stevens and Ted Kennedy - hogging all the public works money are over.
The diversion of infrastructure money to non-essential projects should be minimized. The city, the state and the nation don't have the money for everything.
People expect basic services to be fully funded before delving into the frivolity. City Hall in Charleston gets that.