Highway to hell


As Thanksgiving approaches, there is a lot to be thankful for on Martha’s Vineyard — the beautiful vistas, the robust fishing, the seemingly endless talent in the arts, and the generous, neighborly spirit.

But one less obvious thing to be grateful for is that we don’t have any major highways, so we won’t have to comply with the federal government’s recent mandate that exit signs be numbered based on mile markers. Really, that’s happening off-Island. Rather than the sequential system we’re accustomed to in the Bay State, highway exits will soon have new numbers.

The plan was announced last week, and there were two reactions — it’s a dumb idea and a waste of taxpayer money, or it makes logical sense to number exits that way, like they do in other parts of the country.

You can put us firmly in the camp of this being a waste of taxpayer money. Even quaint Route 6 on Cape Cod will get the new numbering system. So, instead of getting off Exit 1C as you come over the Sagamore Bridge to make your way back to Woods Hole to catch a ferry, you’ll be getting off at Exit 55. Even though the Cape Cod portion of Route 6 is the only section in Massachusetts with exits.

The new exit numbers are posted on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation website. They promise “more accurate emergency response,” “driver-friendly navigation,” and “national uniformity.”

We’re already lost.

The same website points out that it will cost $2.8 million to install all the new signs — 90 percent of it coming from federal highway funds, and 10 percent coming from MassDOT’s budget. In other words, 100 percent taxpayer-funded.

Sometimes government has great ideas. This isn’t one of them.