Our View: Don't wait to tackle road woes
A proposal in the state Legislature may lead to a task force that would investigate current and future road needs in South Dakota. Passed 42-27 by the House of Representatives Monday, House Bill 1006 would create a 15-member panel that would also...
A proposal in the state Legislature may lead to a task force that would investigate current and future road needs in South Dakota.
Passed 42-27 by the House of Representatives Monday, House Bill 1006 would create a 15-member panel that would also consider alternatives to the current state gas tax as a way to pay for highway repairs and construction.
The idea was recommended in legislative summer study as the shortfall between revenue and need moves toward $200 million.
We must say we appreciate any and all methods -- past, current and future -- to fix roads in South Dakota.
There is a serious problem brewing on many rural stretches of highway, where pavement is crumbling, shoulders are sagging and, in some cases, bridges are aged and ready for replacement. But the Department of Transportation's cupboard is bare, victimized by high costs and last year's intentional spending-down of its savings account.
A proposal to create a task force on the surface seems like a good idea, and perhaps it is. But South Dakota needs help now -- not in 2010, when the task force would be required to report its findings.
Not everyone agrees with the proposal.
Rep. Gerald Lange, D-Madison, voted against the bill and said he's skeptical of summer studies because they're often nothing more than "money blown."
And Democratic Rep. Oran Sorenson, of Garretson, said he has had people tell him that no matter where the money comes from "we need to work on (roads) right now."
He questioned whether the Legislature can come up with a solution within its 40-day session, instead of waiting until December 2010 for the task force to present answers.
We wonder the same thing and would much rather see the issue addressed today than taken up over the next 23 months by yet another task force.