Locally elected officials often talk a big game when it comes to the need for highway expansion and other roadway improvements in San Benito County. It’s just too bad they haven’t succeeded at solving the problem for many years, and now the area is experiencing an infusion of sustained housing growth that will further deteriorate traffic conditions.

It’s also too bad the community as a whole hasn’t learned enough from the mistakes of the 1990s and early 2000s when San Benito County grew way too fast to keep up with infrastructure, namely the sewer plant, the failure of which spurred more than a decade of stunted growth and economic challenges.

Now local officials are at it again, talking about the need to address roads with the infusion of recent growth, which shows no signs of stalling anytime soon. This past week, an array of planning commissions met to talk about needs and possible solutions. If it wasn’t merely another feel-good session for local politicians and their cohorts, then local citizens who absorb the impacts of poor planning would be lucky.

Most importantly on the topic, local officials who support highway expansion on 25 and 156 haven’t done enough to fight back against opponents of progress (those in the small minority praying that time will somehow go backward and the traffic will just go away) and lobby the state for funds now.

Now here we are, 15 years after the 15 million gallon sewer spill, fighting aimlessly over who’s right and who’s wrong, instead of trusting the majority and pushing state lawmakers and bureaucrats with every ounce of collective effort possible. Because if this county keeps sitting and waiting for a miracle from the state, which is prone to continue pushing off highway expansion locally, we won’t get anywhere for a long time to come.

Community Insight Board, panel of independent volunteers

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