Businesses suffer from Route 4 road projects - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Businesses suffer from Route 4 road projects

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - From motorists waiting in traffic for lengthy periods of time to island businesses struggling to stay afloat, it's safe to say that every one on the island has been impacted, in one way or another, with the ongoing road construction. While the repairs are necessary to improve Guam's thoroughfares, some island businesses are suffering - literally on the brink of closure.

Butler's has been a casualty of the road construction that has plagued Route 4 in Sinajana for the last few months.  Butlers president Gerry Champion says the road repairs have resulted in him having to close up half of his shop and letting go of some of his staff. "I have already closed Champs hot dogs, five employees already lost their weekly paycheck for that, Butlers is down one or two employees," he said.

It's difficult to close up the once thriving business that began in 1915.  While Butlers incorporated managed to survive World War II, Champion isn't so sure the family owned business will be able to survive this fight.  Even though the Route 4 road repairs are completed, an island now blocks direct access to his business. "You're choking me off and I much rather prefer when I go out of business when I complete my promise to my grandmother to be the first 100 years that we can go out humbly with a little bit of class," he said.

The situation is similar to how the businesses are impacted over at the Barrigada tri-intersection area, and Champion says it's the island down the center of the road that blocks access to his business and what he says may result in a possible class action lawsuit. He noted, "If that seems to be the consensus of the people, I don't want to be the dictator and I don't want to tell anybody what to do, I want to look at my option and say ok we can do this and this, personally ill try the peaceful road."

Champion says the problem can be solved with one backhoe in 30 minutes.  While he seeks help from Public Works and lawmakers, Senator Tony Ada introduced Bill 25 today that could help provide some relief to businesses like Butler's. the policymaker said, "It's to authorize GEDA on availability of funds to extend loans to these companies and businesses that are affected and give them enough working capital to stay in business."

The legislation also seeks to exempt businesses located in the vicinity of road construction projects from paying fees and excise taxes for one year. The Republican lawmaker says the government should be responsible for providing relief if it is responsible for causing suffering. Champion meanwhile is inviting residents to come to an open discussion at butlers store on January 17 at 11am to try to identify solutions for other businesses impacted by the road repairs.

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