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Stene: DOT needs more transparency

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By Aaron Stene | Special to Hawaii 24/7

The state Department of Transportation needs to do a better job in disseminating project information to the public at large. The HDOT public affairs office seems to be understaffed, as it takes awhile to get a response and sometimes the information is not correct.

For example, recent articles about the Daniel K. Inouye Highway project contained inaccurate information concerning total cost, start location of last east side phase among other mistakes.

I’ve had to jump through hoops to double check that my information was correct as a result.

The HDOT public affairs office response queue times have also increased. I recently asked when the Kuakini Highway widening EIS meeting would be held. I received a response stating it would take about a week to respond.

These issues started cropping up about mid-year when the CFLHD, HDOT and FHWA referred all my inquiries regarding the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening and Saddle Road projects to Caroline Slyuter, the HDOT PIO.

I had to get any updates through alternative means because it usually took several days or even longer to get any updates through the public affairs office.

The CFLHD and HDOT have websites for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening projects. Both of these agencies need to do a better job keeping these websites updated, so the public is informed about these important highway projects.

This would a great first step in properly engaging the public.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

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