THE EDITOR: It is not too much of a stretch of truth to describe many of the roads in Trinidad as, asphalt wrapped around potholes. The true loss of money in our economy through having roads in a serious state of disrepair, caused by continuous neglect, is beyond most people’s ability to compute because it is a difficult sum as it impacts everything we all do, collectively.
Increased time spent on our roads instead of economic activity is difficult to measure, but it is a large loss. Whereas efficient roads will deliver more efficiency in all respects of profitability and the treasury with more taxes from these activities. What might that value of increased activity be if it lifted commerce by 1%?
Our last published GDP at The World Bank was in 2016 and was US$20.99b. That is TT$141,567,300,000. Just one percent of this sum is TT$1.42 billion…but let’s just take half of that one percent and we still see a large sum of TT$710 million. This is merely speculation but what is clear is we would gain more productivity and efficiency and this illustration is to point positively to a direction that deserves analysis and action that changes our attitudes to what we spend on roads and why we need to do so.
Trinidad and Tobago produces more engineers than many nations and are also one of the world’s major suppliers of asphalt, yet have one of the worst road systems. How can any of our governments explain who our roads have been left in such an extremely dangerous condition.
Our roads require to be made a priority of all governments. Continuity is the keyword for good maintenance. To motivate today’s and tomorrow’s governments requires a transport economist to calculate the wasted fuel, excessive vehicle parts replacement and wasted extra time each journey takes.
The conclusion could be to focus the budget to direct more monies with weaker objectives, such as the controversial Toco Ferry and Port to immediate road maintenance, because this will deliver more for each dollar spent for the people and government(s).