Categorized | Opinions

Stene: Road funding may in jeopardy

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The late Sen. Daniel 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 state 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 the state Department of Transportation prepare for life post Sen. Inouye.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

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