Barrel Bob and Me
While representing the Show-Me Institute at the Missouri State Fair, I took some time to wander around the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Highway Gardens. En route, I unexpectedly encountered Barrel Bob, an anthropomorphic structure of orange construction barrels that is used to incite drivers to reduce their speed in construction zones.
I like Barrel Bob. I am amused to learn that Barrel Bob has been assassinated and kidnapped, and that he has a girlfriend named Barrel Betty. I would not be surprised if Barrel Bob were more effective than distribution of pamphlets or public service announcements at promoting highway safety.
However, I have questions relating to the Highway Gardens. Why does the Department of Transportation own and operate them year-round? Is this an effective method of promoting highway safety with taxpayer funds? Could the money used to maintain the Highway Gardens be put to better alternative uses, such as fixing roads in Missouri?