Monday, Jan. 30, 2023 |
Share this story
A different take on Ironman
On Monday while waiting for my wife in PT thought I would walk down Alii Drive and see the aftermath of Ironman. I was surprised to see all the equipment gone, the streets and sidewalks clean and garbage cans empty. Even the park and pier were clean and trash-free.
Well it was hot on the walk back so stopped at the ABC Store for a cold drink and while in the checkout line an apparent street man with a crutch at one register was buying a few items and at the other register an obvious Ironman athlete was buying a stack on take home T-shirts.
The athlete motioned to cashier to put the street man items on his bill. They exchanged a few words and then gave each other a fist bump. The man on a crutch bent over and took out a woven palm frond ornament and handed to other man who smiled and gave him a hug.
I can understand those upset with noise, traffic and lose of work, but the world and our children need a little more contact with outsiders than just ourselves.
I am disappointed that officially the Saddle Road Extension EIS won’t be finalized. It wasn’t unexpected though, especially since HDOT has changed their policy from adding new roadway capacity to focusing on system preservation/safety projects since 2016.
There is an aspect of this decision that I question though. If I recall correctly, HDOT planned to use revenue from the car rental surcharge to finance the construction of this roadway back 2019. The COVID pandemic halted those plans, which resulted in the suspension of work on the EIS in 2021. However, tourism has rebounded since COVID has waned over the past year.
The decision to permanently stop work on the EIS doesn’t make any sense due to the latter reason. Tourism has rebounded, so the surcharge revenue should be returning to normal also. This revenue would’ve given the project a funding source to finalize the EIS ROD. As it stands now, the EIS remains incomplete and will have to be updated when, and if, work resumes on this document.
I firmly believe the decision to terminate work on the draft EIS is shortsighted. The project construction costs will continue to escalate the longer it remains suspended, but the community’s need for this regional traffic improvement remains.
It appears HDOT has used the COVID pandemic as an out to rid itself of a costly capacity project. I find it very curious that one of the STIP updates last year had projected the finalization of the ROD by the end of 2021, but work on the EIS was suspended in September 2021 due to the lack of funding source.
I can only imagine the outcome if the COVID pandemic didn’t happen.
A few thoughts:
(1) Sounds like the mayor’s job and we vote that person in, thus can vote the person out if not doing a good job. What is the mayor’s job if the county manager takes over?
(2) The manager would stay beyond four years … and be managed by the County Council who are voted in and out. So the manager’s bosses would be many and changing. Plus the County Council has too much to do as is, cannot always agree on issues, and takes months to make a decision.
(3) What is to say the manager would stay any longer than any other department head?
(4) And where would this manager be found? Undoubtedly from the mainland with no knowledge of local issues, customs, or even local individuals to be hired.
(5) Sounds like another taxpayer expense that could possibly be a disaster waiting to happen.
Let us have a voice
The letter to the editor in the Oct. 11 edition I read was right on Let’s put the Ironman ballot for us who live here so we have a voice! It’s a great idea, how about having the race on Molokai? Not much traffic!
Tell us about it
Do you have a story idea or news tip? Is there a community problem that has not been addressed? Do you know someone unique, whose story should be shared and enjoyed with the rest of the community? We want to know. Email the West Hawaii Today newsroom at email@example.com and share the information with our readers.
Letters to the editor should be 300 words or less and will be edited for style and grammar. Longer viewpoint guest columns may not exceed 800 words. Submit online at https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/letter-to-the-editor/ or address letters to:
Editor | West Hawaii Today
PO Box 789
Kailua-Kona, HI 96745