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Dear Editor:

For nearly 40 years I've seen dirt roads paved, paved roads concreted but never have I seen our westside roads in the pathetic condition we are facing each day. Huge potholes everywhere, whole sections wiped out, no centerline or turning lane lines left, just one driving hazard after another. Drivers are zig-zagging back and forth across the lanes playing dodge-um and every day wreckers hauling damaged vehicles to some shop.

What this Administration is doing about this situation — if not legally criminal— is morally criminal. Sending out crews to dump some dirt and gravel in the holes until the next rain, which is usually within 24 hours is a total waste of time, energy, labor, and money!

Money, the crux of the problem. As taxpayers, we are taxed 10 cents for every gallon of gas we buy. This tax, by law, is put in a "Road Maintenance Fund" to maintain our roadways. For years this administration has put the millions generated by this tax into the "General Fund" to maintain their voting base and now the situation has gotten away from them, all at our expense.

Next to purchasing a home, the automobile is the second largest investment a person or family makes and to have it damaged or wrecked because of these road conditions is wrong and the government allowing the conditions to develop and then totally ignoring them is just a shame but nothing matters to them but maintaining their voting base.

 The government’s entire fleet of vehicles drives on these same roads 24/7 for work, personal business, and recreation but we taxpayers pay for their gasoline and if they damage or wreck a vehicle it's no sweat, just find a Federal Grant and buy another one bigger and better equipped than what they had.

We are also at the mercy of the private auto repair industry on Island. With the prices they are charging for parts and labor you would think they were all employed by ASPA or members of the “American Samoa Bar Association”.

The government needs to understand they are obligated to repair and maintain these roads. As long as the drivers passively accept this treatment nothing will ever change. Call your leaders at the village level and FONO level to step up and do their job. One of the coming election candidates is using the slogan “PEOPLE FIRST”, that would certainly be a FIRST in this Territory!!!

Jim Brittle