Pizza Paving Potholes

I love pizza and politics, and writing about both runs in the family.  So while looking for South Carolina’s primary election results this morning at thestate.com, I was intrigued to find the following headline:  “Tired of potholes? Domino’s Pizza helps pay for road repair. How to nominate Columbia.”

The State‘s article links to Domino’s Pizza’s Paving for Pizza program (how’s that alliteration?).  Here’s the gist of it:  nominate your town using your zip code, and Domino’s might pitch in some dough (tee hee) to fill its potholes.  They’ve already done it in several cities around the United States, from California to Texas to Delaware.

Every South Carolinian knows that one of our major issues is the poor state of our roads.  Indeed, last year the legislature passed a gas tax hike, the first phase of which kicked in at the beginning of 2018.  That tax will raise the tax by $0.02/gallon each year for six years, ultimately topping out at $0.12/gallon by 2023.

It also introduced increased fees for registering vehicles from out-of-state, and raised registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles (which put more miles on roads using fewer gallons of gas, meaning hybrid and electric owners pay less in gas taxes—ergo, the State wants to get their cut from those drivers, too).

(Remember, South Carolina drivers, you can save your receipts from the gas pump starting this year—2018—and deduct what you paid in gas taxes from your SC income tax when you file for FY2018.  It has to be gas purchased in South Carolina—of course—and the receipt has to show the number of gallons purchased.  Hold on to those bad boys!)

So, what does this have to do with pizza?  Domino’s—like many companies in South Carolina and throughout the nation—needs good roads to deliver its gooey pies safely and efficiently.  Bad roads, littered with potholes, negatively impact Domino’s business, incurring expensive tire replacement and vehicle repair bills (and preventing your mushroom-and-pepperoni pizza from arriving in thirty minutes or less).

As such, Domino’s has a vested interest in seeing that roads are repaired.  Rather than lobbying for more roads funding or pushing for a gas tax, though, Domino’s decided to act directly in its economic interest—that is, to have better roads—and has committed to helping communities fill their potholes.

This kind of public-private partnership is innovative (and good marketing—I’m dedicating an entire wall-o-text to Domino’s Pizza!), and it demonstrates that free-market principles can work to the benefit of all parties.  Domino’s and its drivers get safer roads; residents of a “Paving for Pizza” town also enjoy safer roads; State and local governments save on astronomically expensive road repairs (I once heard a Florence County, SC Councilman say that it costs $1 million to repave one mile of road—yikes!); and taxes on gas or property don’t have to increase, which hurts everyone.

Kudos to Domino’s for taking a proactive approach to solving a public problem.

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