No kicking this one down the road

Fri, 05/06/2022 - 8:45am

To the Editor,

Like much of the country, our infrastructure is subject to material fatigue [Block Island 4/29/22 “Checking the Drains”] that’s well known to engineers when they predict the lifespan of what they build.
Nothing lasts forever, so the question is how much money to set aside for patchwork maintenance and how much to piggy-bank for partial upgrades over time or eventual replacement?
Maintenance is one thing where it is obvious like potholes on the roads, but it’s quite another when it’s underground, out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

Unless we work for the sewer, we usually don’t think of it until something starts smelling.
So what it comes down to is figuring out who shoulders the burden of paying for it when it needs to be replaced.
I suppose it’s a matter of the type of math most of us don’t like to think about, like how long is the new roof on our house going to last and how much will it cost to replace it down the road?
For town projects we look to our town council to decide for us, and they have an unenviable balancing act circumscribed by regulations from on high over which they have no control, like the cap on raising property taxes.
What looks like usually happens is the ball gets passed to future generations to pay for anything we can get away with.
Figuring out who should foot the bill becomes a matter, like so many things, of morals and politics.
It’s not an easy task, and I wish the Town Council well, but it sure beats shoveling you know what.

Douglas Gasner
Corn Neck Road