Editorial: City taxpayers shouldn’t get stuck with this road repair bill
Copart of Connecticut, the company suing the city of Concord because the police ticket its drivers for using roads not designed for routine truck traffic, is not some struggling auto salvage business that needs to bend the rules to make a buck. It’s a publicly traded, $4 billion company that does business internationally. It should not be permitted to pass a portion of its cost of doing business onto local taxpayers, who will have to pay to rebuild rural, residential roads damaged by its trucks.
Copart purchases salvage cars that it sells in online auctions that, according to the company website, allow buyers to bid “from anywhere in the world.” It keeps some of those vehicles in a storage yard on Deer Meadow Road in Webster. To get there, drivers of trucks loaded with salvage vehicles have been getting off Interstate 93 at Exit 15 and taking North State Street to Bog Road, a narrow winding road that, as its name implies, passes through wetlands. The route is 10 miles shorter than traveling on truck routes, but Bog Road was not designed to withstand regular truck traffic.
The company claims that an exception in the ordinance allows it to take the shortcut if doing so “is necessary to the conduct of business at that destination point.” The exception, we assume, was included to allow construction vehicles or large delivery trucks temporary access. It should not be seen as a license to locate a business that requires regular service by heavy vehicles on a substandard road.
Copart claims that if can’t use Concord roads not designed for truck travel it will have to relocate its Webster business. Better that than sticking Concord taxpayers with the repair bills and Penacook residents with the safety issues created when trucks routinely travel residential roads.