by James W. Harris
America's government-run roads are plagued with an estimated 350 million potholes -- one bone-jarring axle-cracking crater for every man, woman and child in America.
Leave it to the creative private sector to come to the rescue. The fast-food chain KFC has written America's mayors, offering to patch all the potholes in five cities -- for free.
All KFC wants in return is to stencil the finished repair with a chalk patch telling the public the road was "Re-Freshed by KFC."
The chalk patch isn't permanent: it will wash away after a rain or two.
"In honor of our 'Fresh Tastes Best' campaign, we want to come and Re-'Fresh' your roads!" wrote KFC president Roger Eaton to America's mayors. "Every patched pothole comes with the Colonel's very own stamp of approval."
KFC plans to start with its budget-strapped hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where the mayor has welcomed the offer.
Even more surprising, KFC's offer has already generated competing private-sector offers. Chicago said it is considering KFC's offer, but added the city is studying a similar offer by another company or companies. And the animal rights group PETA has offered to beat KFC's offer in Louisville, if the city will use their anti-KFC ads instead.
Any way you look at it, this unexpected market innovation is good news for taxpayers -- and car owners.