The importance of roads has always been something to which there is little doubt. Going back as far as the Roman Empire, roads have always been key to any civilization's success. Today, roads are a mainstay of our 21st century landscape, much as a river or a tree is a common sight in nature.
Billions of people travel on various roadways throughout the world daily and, locally, hundreds of thousands use everything from county roads to interstates to get to their respective destinations.
For the city of Robstown, that number is far less. Then again, with a population of just over 12,000, that is to be expected. However, that in no way diminishes the importance of maintaining the quality and integrity of the city's roadway system.
For whatever reason, road maintenance and reconstruction was left as an afterthought by former members of previous Robstown city councils. Past articles in the Nueces County Record Star that were written years before I arrived hinted at in-fighting and discord among past councils as one possible reason for what has now grown into a widespread problem of decaying roadways.
This is an issue in other cities as well, but it also happens to be one of the most expensive to have, with projects sometimes costing anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the scale.
In Robstown's case, nearly 100 roads are being looked at for repair or reconstruction. The city, which has yet to come up with a final figure on the project's cost or how it will be funded, is estimating that the project could cost anywhere from $4 million to $5.5 million.
For a city the size of Robstown, which has a budget of less than $6 million annually to work with - 75 percent of which goes to salaries, wages and other related items - that cost estimate is huge. But I have to give credit to the Robstown City Council on the ideas they are coming up with to try and get the funding together for said project.
True, it may be a sacrifice on the part of the Robstown Utility Systems to basically give over $500,000 to the city's surplus fund, which will be used to help attain a greater bond rating. But the move is intended to help increase the likelihood existing debt can be restructured for the sake of improving the quality of life for the city's 12,000 residents.
While the council and I don't usually agree on a lot of things, I must say they deserve some credit for this latest endeavor. Primarily because it seems that in-fighting, on the scale it used to be, is not so prevalent anymore.
For now, it seems, discussion and action is about the people and how to better their quality of life. Let's just hope it can stay that way. After all, all government, be it local, state or federal, is made of the people, by the people, for the people.
Now that's just something we can all get behind, in my opinion. Don't you?
Tim Olmeda is the news editor for the Nueces County Record Star. Readers may contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.