Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

June 16, 2014

Red tape

Meeting with SHA may help to cut some of it

— For most companies and mom and pop operations, it is tough to stay in business. That’s why so many businesses find government red tape so disturbing.

Given that, it was refreshing to hear State Highway Administration officials last week promise to improve their communication and cooperation with developers and county officials.

A meeting to discuss difficulties between developers, county officials and the SHA was held at the behest of State Sen. George Edwards. Much of the discussion centered around Dollar General stores that have had difficulty getting SHA approval for traffic egress and ingress.

Melinda B. Peters, state highway administrator, acknowledged there were some errors made by her personnel. But she said the mistakes were isolated and not systemic. Despite that, she said the need for better communication and cooperation is needed from her agency.

Last week’s meeting took place at the Allegany County office complex on Kelly Road in Cumberland. The elected public officials at the meeting were Edwards, along with state delegates Wendell Beitzel and Kevin Kelly and Allegany County commissioners Mike McKay, Creade Brodie Jr. and Bill Valentine. A number of county staff from both Garrett and Allegany counties were also present.

Edwards said the SHA needs to find ways to speed up approval for commercial projects. He said he is heartened by the progress he has seen by the SHA and he believes the process will be even smoother in the future.

What struck us was the approach Petersen and other SHA officials took during the meeting. Rather than defend their actions, they acknowledged need for improvement. Their promise of communication will go a long way to resolving disputes.

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