The complaints of motorists apparently failed to compel Panama’s Ministry of Public Works to address the poor state of roads in the nation’s capital city. Complaints from the potholes themselves, however, seem to be getting a lot more attention.
An innovative project started by Telemetro Reporta, one of the country’s most popular news programs, places special sensors inside the Panama City’s worst potholes. When vehicles drive over the sensors, they automatically send a geo-tagged tweet to the Ministry of Public Works twitter account.
The tweets themselves — sent from the “Hueco Twitero” or Tweeting Pothole by the dozens each day — are lighthearted: “The cost of the damage I cause should be an annoyance for every driver, just like I’m an annoyance for @MOPdePanama.”
“Hey @MOPdePanama, did you have a relaxing weekend? I didn’t. I had to go to a chiropractor who recommended I stop letting cars run over me.”
But the campaign’s mission is serious.
Despite rapid economic growth that has turned Panama City into one of Latin America’s most prosperous metro areas, infrastructure remains a serious concern.
Poor roads cost drivers who must make car repairs more frequently, and can stifle transportation-dependent growth and development. Worse, they can cause accidents, some of which are serious and even deadly.
Earlier this month, the head of the Ministry of Public Works spoke on Telemetro Reporta about the Hueco Twitero campaign and acknowledged it had prompted an upswing in road repairs. He blamed the poor state of the city’s roads on lack of funding and poor construction.
Perhaps South Carolinians should take a similar tack to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure.
The state Legislature couldn’t be bothered during this year’s session to pass a bill that would regularly fund desperately needed road repairs and improvements. Maybe they just weren’t being bothered enough.