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Ennis Daily News

Counties need to be repaid for road damage

The complaint posed by Ellis County Commissioner Bill Dodson in discussing road conditions in Precinct 2 raises a good point about corporate liability for infrastructure damage.
The precinct’s shortage of road funds is stretched even more thinly by commercial trucking traffic that is literally scraping the surface off of the roadways that crisscross the area.

Dodson’s complaints are made more acute by pressing resident concerns in his precinct. Only recently was Sandswitch Road, a particularly onerous patch of pavement in the southern edge of the precinct, able to be resurfaced after residents identified hundreds of potholes in the relatively short roadway. That’s just one example, and it’s liable to continue.

The county has had little luck convincing businesses that the damage they do to the roadways is a problem that they should pay for.
We think businesses need to reconsider.

As Dodson put it, the trucks hauling freight on roads like Sugar Ridge Road, one of the highlights of the annual Bluebonnet Trails, are scouring the surface to the base in just a few days time. What that means to the county is an incredible recurring expense to resurface roads — or rebuild badly damaged roads from the base up — and that means our tax dollars are being used to cover the activities’ impacts.

“If you break it, you buy it” is a retail concept that borders on the old hat. Why would “if you ruin it, you repair it” not enjoy that same understanding? Especially in light of the tight economy and lack of flexibility in governmental budgets these days, it just doesn’t make sense to have taxpayers footing the bill.

It brings to mind an opinion from earlier this year — counties need to have some authority to regulate development. Ellis has limited authority because of its geographic position next to a county with a high population. Navarro, since it shares no border with a large county, enjoys no such control.

Being good to business and letting uncontrolled activity end up hurting residents are entirely different.

Texas has more problems than an $18 billion budget shortfall if the Legislature can’t see the problems with making taxpayers foot the bill for commercial haulers to destroy county roads.

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Posted by on May 27 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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