LETTER: Big Island’s Funding Problem, Post Inouye
Senator Inouye used his political clout to secure funding for the Saddle Road and Ane Keohokalole Highway projects.
These improvements have positively impacted the quality of life on the Big Island. However, Hawaii’s new congressional delegation won’t have the same political clout as Senator Inouye had.
Big ticket projects, such as Saddle Road Extension, Ane Keohokalole
Highway Phase 2, will be competing for limited federal highway funds.
Some of these on deck highway projects may have to be phased, curtailed,
or scuttled entirely as a result.
Hawaii County and the Hawaii Department of Transportation need to plan
for this contingency. For example, Hawaii County should explore
alternative funding mechanisms for future roadway projects. Floating
bonds and depending federal highway funds isn’t sustainable.
The Ane Keohokalole Highway and Saddle Road projects will leave a
lasting legacy for future generations. However, I hope Hawaii County and
Hawaii Department of Transportation prepare for life post Senator Inouye.
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