A bad trip

Posted on Aug 16 2019

Beach Road is quickly becoming what it used to be—a two-track, potholed lane suitable for carabao-powered ox carts. Sadly, we are letting our finest selling point become ruined by neglect. When you drive to Garapan from San Jose on Beach Road, do you experience a lovely drive down a road with beautiful views of our turquoise lagoon, or are you watching for potholes big enough that you need a road map to get out of them? I suspect the latter. If you’ve ever driven the road in front of the Hon. Eloy Inos Peace Park headed toward the seaport, you see firsthand what heavy trucks do to a paved road surface. Truckers try to avoid it now that they have destroyed it.

There are a number of reasons for the deterioration of Beach Road and several other island byways. Trucks, specifically overloaded trucks, are the primary reason. They take a bigger toll, faster than does the age of the road. Poorly executed road repairs and patches added after utility work that digs up the roadbed for pipe access add to the woes. Poor original construction sometimes also plays a part. An example is the Marpi area road to Bird Island that is actually collapsing in several places due to a poorly constructed underlayment of the foundation roadbed. This happens when the winning bidder of a construction project spends half of the bid on the road and keeps the rest, sharing it no doubt with the kind soul who gave him the bid.

But I digress. Since we are unlikely to cure the latter, let’s look at what we can do to prevent overloaded trucks from damaging our highways at great cost to taxpayers. The bottom line is that overloaded/overweight trucks do damage roads and, in fact, will break up a roadway as seen on Beach Road and elsewhere. Regular passenger cars and light trucks have essentially no impact on properly constructed roads. With that in mind, it makes sense to know which trucks are destroying our roads, and to penalize them severely for that destruction. One or more roadside scales and a set of enforced truck weight laws and regulations are the simple answer to this expensive problem.

This will provide a few new jobs and will augment the work already done by the safety inspections done on the road by the commercial trucking officers of DPS. If a station is placed on Pale Arnold (Marpi) road north of the Tanapag Mobil station, it will catch and weigh all commercial vehicles headed to the landfill. If another is placed strategically to weigh the trucks coming to/from the seaport and one that intercepts trucks coming from the major rock quarries, we will have captured the vast majority of perpetrators. Those roaming safety officers can pick up most of the stragglers by accompanying suspected overweight trucks to the nearest official scale for confirmation and issuance of a citation.

This solution is easy, could likely be accomplished via one or more federal Department of Transportation grants and would go a long way toward preserving our road network from the ravages of illegally loaded commercial trucks and heavy construction vehicles. A legislator with a desire to do some good for his constituents and the island of Saipan is all that is needed to get this ball rolling.

Paid the bill

While still not confirmed as of column deadline time, it appears IPI did in fact wire the payment for their annual licensing fee to the Department of Finance on Monday, Aug 12, as required, rumors to the contrary by Propst et al notwithstanding. What, oh, what will Ed have to gripe about now? I, for one, have confidence in Ed and expect he will find some other niggling nabobish “fact” about IPI that irks his peculiar sense of decency. I also have full confidence that he has no solution to replace anywhere near the amount of money that flows into the CNMI GDP and the CNMI government coffers should he finally succeed in running IPI out of town as is his obvious goal. In fact, Ed’s total lifetime tax payout combined with those of his family members and the total lifetime tax payments of every voting supporter he has would not amount to a fraction of the taxes and fees IPI contributes in a single year to our economy. I also have confidence that, after all the grandstanding is done, Ed will be happy to spend some of that $15 million on some boondoggle project or another, much like his colleagues up on the Hill, given the chance to get his mitts on some of it.

Since I don’t vote in Hopeful Ed’s precinct and don’t live my life vicariously on Facebook, I don’t follow his every move but I would like to know how Ed comes down on the U.S. DoD’s position of wanting to blow up half of Tinian and all of Pagan if they can just talk us dumb colonists into agreeing to it. I would like to hear him staunchly oppose that usurpation of local rights and human dignity just so I could claim that I don’t disagree with everything he stands for. As the old cliché goes: Politics sometimes makes for strange bedfellows. It would be nice to know there is something in Ed’s platform that I could get behind. Do you like puppies, Ed? Would you agree that Bernie’s brand of socialism will hasten the demise of the U.S.A. should he get a chance to wield the executive scepter? Would you agree that the “…shall not infringe…” wording in the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment means that U.S. citizens have an unabridged constitutional right to keep and bear arms? Well, one out of three isn’t bad.

I say all this so you don’t think I bear Ed any personal ill will. I just don’t think his stance on IPI specifically, or on governmentally legalized gaming generally, is rational or in the best self-interest of his fellow citizens here in the CNMI…but I do like puppies.

Thanks for reading Sour Grapes!

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.
—Margaret Thatcher

He who walks in the middle of the roads gets hit from both sides.
—George P. Shultz

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.