St. John Tradewinds News

Rutnik To Pass on Waterfront Beautification, Taxi Stand Projects to deJongh’s Transition Team

Ongoing projects designed to improve everything from taxi operations to the beauty of the Cruz Bay waterfront will not be forgotten when Andy Rutnik steps down from his post as commissioner of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs at the end of this year.

Rutnik will pass on several projects he has been involved with to governor-elect John deJongh’s transition team.

One of those projects includes the beautification of the Cruz Bay waterfront, which has stalled recently for various reasons, according to Rutnik.

The beautification project involves burying the tangle of power lines that currently run along the waterfront.

Waterfront Beautification
“We have the materials for the burial, and we are waiting on Public Works to bury the lines,” said Rutnik. “I don’t think anything will happen with that before I leave office.”

The Department of Public Works has agreed to dig and close the trenches, and has not been notified that work is ready to begin, according to DPW St. John Deputy Director Ira Wade.

“No one has contacted me to say anything about anybody being prepared to start construction,” said Wade. “We won’t be installing any wires or pipes. We will do the excavation of the area so WAPA can install the pipe and wiring.”

Taxi Dispatching System
Another project Rutnik will turn over to deJongh’s transition team is the new taxi dispatch system, which will alleviate the traffic caused by taxis jockeying to be next in line to pick up passengers.

Under the new system, taxis would wait at an off-site location until they are dispatched, based on a numbering system to ensure fairness, to pick up passengers at the ferry dock.

Inspection lane has been designated as one possible location for the taxi waiting area, but a final decision has not yet been made, according to Rutnik.

E-Government
“We have money budgeted for the taxi dispatching project, but we’ve only spent a small portion of that because we’ve been sort of stalled,” said the DLCA commissioner.

Making government services available electronically is another project that Rutnik will pass on to deJongh’s transition team.

Rutnik is not worried about turning his projects over to someone else as he steps down as DLCA commissioner, he said.

Prioritizing Projects
“I am going to propose and put forward a lot of these items that have been on our agenda that we’re trying to complete,” said Rutnik. “There are several items there that I am going to prioritize. I feel very comfortable that whoever comes in (as DLCA commissioner) will be pro-business.”

The new DLCA commissioner will be appointed by deJongh and take office on January 1.