by Nick Delgado
Guam - The island's major thoroughfares are well on their way to being repaired, but there is now concern from residents about the poor condition of roads within island. One man spoke to KUAM News, noting how several years he's been trying to gain adequate access to his residence, but has been unsuccessful due to the government's lack of funding.
"They did what they could except for the asphalt - since 2008 I've gone through numerous DPW directors, Congresswoman Bordallo's Office, Senator Ada and Pangelinan's office [sic], and to this very day, even the Governor's Office, Community Outreach, and no one has ever lend a hand to help," expressed Yona resident Joe Quitaro. He's in the central village for decades and four years ago the private road he and his family used to access their property was closed-off for their use by the private landowner.
Fortunately, his family was able to gain alternate access, but it's access you would barely call a road. He says the Department of Public Works came by last year to try to smooth out the rocky trail, but the complete road repair project he says would cost $40,000 - $14,000 of which is needed for the asphalt. "They never came back and provided the asphalt, as the $14,000 was difficult to find according to Public Works," he said. "And I understand the government's situation, but we have a problem here and I have warned them about runoff and this is what is going on.
"If you look at the road completely there is no surface material at all. They just wasted government dollars, all though they did what they could but this is what we got to contend with every time it rains this is what we have to deal with. Our vehicles are damaged and we have spent hundreds of dollars in the past four years to repairs our vehicles."
DPW deputy director Carl Dominguez sympathizes with Quitaro, saying, "A difficult job, the road to his house is fairly steep and so it's not an easy job with the equipment. What complicates the matter is that it's a dirt road and we used coral to fix it, because it is steep and when it rains the water washes the coral down the hill. I feel bad because for our guys with the fuel and equipment expense and labor to go up there and try to smooth it out for him could be ruined with a couple of heavy rains. And I wish we could pave it but we just didn't have the funds to do it."
Domniguez adds he estimates the cost to fix the road may be greater, saying, "I think nearly two years ago just for the asphalt was something in the neighborhood of $15,000 - my estimate is that it'd be closer to $18,000-$19,000 to do that today."
Dominguez is hopeful they may be able to assist with their upcoming fiscal year budget, but that's to be determined. "We will take a look at it and if we can spare it we will try," he said. There's other people that want there roads paved, he's no the only one. Do we pave a road that benefits two families, or a road that benefits seven or eight families? We have to take that into consideration so all I can tell you is that we will take a look at our budget next year otherwise if we feel we don't have the funding then we would have to ask the legislature for additional monies to do this type of work."
In the meantime, Quitaro along with his elderly mother and father are left trekking up the steep and rough roadway. "This is not easy we have been suffering in so many ways physically, mentally, mechanically, emotionally, financially," he said. "For the past four years, on occasion we have to park our vehicles up on a separate property and walk down or wait for someone to pick us up every evening or drop us up in the morning."
Quitaro also continues his plea for help to island leaders, saying, "It's been a nightmare and I know I'm not the only family with landlocked issues, but I think its time our elected leaders have to face this issue. And if we can't resolve this access issue, then we really have no access to our homes. We will be completely sealed off. There's no two ways about it," he said.