Sedona AZ (August 28, 2012) – The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Adopt-A-Highway blue trash bags left on Arizona highway shoulders are a visual indication and confirmation of local pride in the cleanliness of state highways and its communities.
That pride demands continued teamwork, cooperation, and participation by Verde Valley community residents, business leaders, church leaders, school leaders, city leaders, ADOT, and others. By working together, the Arizona highway cleaning effort, started by a few in 2009, will be a success in the now.
However, whether the Verde Valley anti-litter highway effort continues now depends upon the mutual participation of many, not a few, people shouldering its responsibility.
Verde Valley leaders will need to step up and work together in order to boast of the cleanest 30 miles of highway in Arizona. From which Arizona communities will this leadership emerge over the next 2-3 months to continue the anti-litter effort? Time will tell.
If the Arizona highway anti-litter effort does not continue, the Verde Valley will most likely revert to conditions that existed in 2009 before a few Cornville Arizona residents emerged to demand ADOT perform its taxpayer funded duties.
In 2009, Arizona taxpayers funded unmowed highways, accumulating trash, and the poor performance of 75% of the ADOT Adopt-A-Highway groups. Due to the efforts of the original Cornville Road Warriors, now Folksville USA, in 2011, 90% of the thirty ADOT Adopt-A-Highway groups are honoring their commitments, and the results are obvious.
As an Arizonan what do you want or expect from the Arizona Department of Transportation when it uses your hard earned tax dollars?
If the thirty ADOT Adopt-A-Highway groups of Arizona State Highway 260 and Arizona Scenic Highway 89A continue to clean adopted sections of highway (a minimum of three times per year and stay focused on the four season annual Folksville USA cleanups), these groups will likely gain the distinction of being the best Adopt-A-Highway participants in Arizona, and quite possibly the nation.
If ADOT will insure its support of groups that honor the three times per year commitment and remove groups from the program that do not, a role model for the Arizona taxpayer funded Adopt-A-Highway Program will have been established.
Frustration is being an ADOT Adopt-A-Highway group honoring its commitment to clean a one-mile section of highway wedged between trash strewn sections that are rarely, if ever, cleaned by fellow ADOT AHP participants.
Answer this question for yourself, then ask ADOT: If an ADOT Adopt-A-Highway group cannot find approximately nine hours annually to clean one mile of adopted highway, why are Arizona taxpayers providing these slackers with two costly advertising signs at the end of their sections?
Only ADOT AHP groups that deserve recognition should be recognized. We do not need more poor role models nor do we need to provide free taxpayer funded advertising for those that do not uphold agreements.
ADOT has an obligation to taxpayers to perform its highway safety mandate as well: ADOT must mow highway shoulders and medians twice per year and enable Adopt-A-Highway groups to clean safely and efficiently. It’s common sense. If Arizona is to have a chance of reversing litterers bad habits, ADOT must clean the highway medians with the same frequency it requires of its Adopt-A-Highway groups.
The economy of the Verde Valley requires tourists, new home buyers, new businesses, and jobs. All must do their share to improve the Verde Valley and Arizona in order to reap the benefits of a better economy and a cleaner environment.
When you see a blue trash bag alongside a Verde Valley highway, take time to realize that the bag did not fill itself. Its appearance is the truest indicator of whether we, as communities and individuals, are united in a common effort to make a difference.
Litter education and awareness must occur in homes, churches, businesses, schools, and all media. If everyone picked up trash for at least fifteen minutes once a month, and spoke to others of the positive and negative impact of litter on lives, businesses and environments, what a difference those fifteen minutes would make in our lives.
Don’t litter. It’s the law but, more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.