“HIGHWAY FUNDING EXPENDITURES — WHERE ARE THEY?”
What a welcoming sight it is to touch down in American Samoa and be greeted by a pothole on my way home. Nothing has changed since I left the island back in 1997. Last I remembered, our roads are still as messed up, dirt insulated, and much more dangerous than driving down H-45 or the Interstate Highway.
I have routed the island 4 times since arriving and have been driving a rental car that is close to breaking or falling apart due to the road conditions (west side bound). Where is the funding for highway transportation and roadside maintenance that is set aside for the construction of our local roads?
I am not aware of where the local government stands on such corollary, but I am sure that the federal government would love to step in and audit the whereabouts, distribution and use of such funds. I see a lot of construction happening here and there along the roadside, slowing down traffic and creating more damage to the road, yet no real improvement is being observed.
Just a few days ago I was driving following a public works truck with workers in the back of the truck shoveling dirt on to the road to patch down potholes. I had to quickly roll up my car windows due to so much debris being blown my way by the wind and the air is just filthy. At the same moment I had to avoid the potholes which are not really being dealt with properly.
I am not sure about the rest of the drivers and car owners in American Samoa, but I would like to see our roads all over the island improve. I live on the west side of the island and driving through Iliili, Futiga, Puapua, Taputimu, Vailoa, Leone, Malaeloa, Amaluia and all the way through to Fagamalo scares me to death. There are multiple potholes to avoid, drivers tend to drive like maniacs on narrow roads, the dirt debris that rises when it is dry and windy causes not only health problems but possible accidents, and hurts my wallet when the time comes to buy and maintain my own vehicle.
Tautasi Falanai Jr.
CSGA Allocation Board Representative
Chaminade University of Honolulu