With 150,000 more potholes than last year and $12 for each temporary patch, Chicago has spent close to $3 million on pothole repair and the end is not in sight. NYC was at a record breaking 113,131 on February 20. Sort of like the perfect storm, lots of cold, snow and then salt have made it an especially bad pothole year.
This is where potholes come from (January 2012):
This is where the money goes (April 2010):
And here is the story of one giant Michigan pothole (March 22 2013):
I guess that we have an ideal metaphor. Sinking so much into a pothole of spending creates a tradeoff. The opportunity cost is the spending that would have been allocated to grass cutting, trash pick-up, graffiti removal and repaving. For Michigan it could be $18 million.
Sources and resources: H/T to WSJ.com for alerting me to pothole tradeoffs. I then followed up with local articles from Bucks County, PA, WNYC and CNBC but just recommend the videos.