House panel mulls requiring motorists to pay for street lights

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Posted on Dec 19 2019

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How much would you be willing to pay for street lighting?

To help prevent road accidents, alleviate issues faced by motorists and pedestrians at night, and to promote security in the villages, the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee deliberated Tuesday on a bill which would establish a Street Light Fund for the payment of the utility and operation of public street lights.

Introduced by Rep. Joseph A. Flores (Ind-Saipan), House Bill 21-47, or the Street Light Fund, if enacted, would create a fund within the Finance Department

that will be used to pay for the utility and operation of public street lights, including publicly funded community centers, basketball courts, and other public athletic facilities.

“This bill is focused on the street lights. To light up the streets on Beach Road and in the villages. Due to the typhoon, there’s still a lot of areas that are dark [in] Dandan, Koblerville, especially Precinct 1,” Flores said.

The funds will be extracted from a proposed annual fee that would be imposed on any vehicle being registered, to be collected at the same time and in the same manner as the annual license and registration fee.

“Basically, when you register your car, you have to pay for your registration. There is going to be another account separate. You pay for the registration and then [another amount] for the street light bill, in a separate account,” Flores explained.

Injured military veterans or veterans who are jobless due to injuries incurred during military service will be exempt from the proposed fee.

While the members of the committee support the intent of the bill, there was a deliberation on the amount that would be paid by individuals when registering vehicles.

A motion was introduced to ask the fiscal analyst to calculate the actual value and the cost of replacement, and the actual cost of utilities for the street lights, and to factor in as well the use of surplus power that the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. generates, including the use of the Department of Public Works Highway commodities.

The fiscal analyst was also directed to present to the committee a fee that can be added to motor registrations.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com

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