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Opinions of Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Columnist: Samuel Antwi

Should the government spend more money on railways rather than roads?

The responsibility of government to spend money on transportation has become necessary with the growth of the economy and population. The taxpayers expect the state to fund these expensive projects. I disagree to a large extent that the government should spend more on railways than roads.

One can recognize the fact that the cost of developing railways by the government is becoming inevitable among various states. Railways are very effective in the transportation of bulk goods from one city to another. Railway transport is able to link very remote areas to cities and they can have less maintenance cost in some areas compared to roads.

Roads are affected by different seasonal climates which can wear, crack and create potholes thereby becoming expensive to maintain constantly. Railways could have less maintenance cost in some cases.

Railways have less travel time in some locations as compared to traveling by road. The use of commuter trains can often be a quicker method of transportation, an example is the bullet train that could use about 45mins to cover a distance of 160 kilometers.

On the other hand, despite the benefits mentioned above, I believe there are many advantages from spending money on road development by the government. The overall benefit of roads to an extent outweighs that of railways. Roads serve a wider range of commuters in society than railways.

Private and commercial or public vehicles use roads to transport goods and services from one place to another. The delivery of goods and services are dependent on roads in communities. Furthermore, the convenience and comfort of travelling by road cannot be ruled out.

In addition, the merits of funding roads that can be used by cyclists and other commuters may have a positive impact on their physical health. The use of bicycles helps burn calories and improve the cardiovascular system of the body. Walking is a good physical exercise that promotes healthy living.

The accessibility of homes and rural businesses by postal services and courier companies are dependent on roads that link communities and is further evidence pointing to the necessity of funding road maintenance.

In conclusion, the funding of roads by the government will serve a greater percentage of the population with wider alternatives of transportation and should therefore focus more on development of roads.