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Letters for Wednesday, January 30, 2019

State comparison does not help anyone

Recent discussions in this forum appear to have lost direction with an endless comparison between the quality of living in Hawaii or California. As a resident of the mainland state with a nearly two decade interest in Kauai as a property owner and frequent guest, the benefits and challenges of both locals are well known from personal experience.

The problems of each jurisdiction are similar in many cases, but the root causes for the problems are different. Comparisons between the states do not advance discussions that will fix the challenges on this island. We need to look to similar situations for guidance as to what will work, and what will not improve on island life.

Twenty years ago the slogan which attracted our family to this special place was, ‘Don’t let Kauai become another Maui.’ This would appear to be a good place to start a close examination of Kauai today.

Before solutions are discussed, the first goal should be to identify and prioritize those problems which we all face. As important must be a commitment to actually implement changes and not simply a slap band aid on a serious problem, or do nothing.

We must also accept the philosophy that spending money is not the answer to every problem. In many instances there is only a need to redirect, or allocate funds we are already spending, in new and different directions.

For example environmental, traffic and employment problems may all be improved by a single policy change. Housing and the schools may share a common cure and the size and direction of expanding tourism must be discussed.

Ed Cullen, Princeville

State has plans to improve highways

We are writing in response to Ruta Jordan’s letter to the editor on Jan. 8 requesting that the County Council widen Kuhio Highway from three to four lanes from Hanamaulu to Wailua. We would like to clarify that Kuhio Highway is a state highway. Increasing the highway to four lanes, as Ruta Jordan suggests, is included in the Department of Transportation’s Kapaa Transportation Solutions study: the DOT has identified this project as a priority, but there are projects that have prioritized ahead of this one.

In addition to widening Kuhio Highway, other highway improvements include adding a southbound lane on Kuhio Highway from the Wailua Bridge to the beginning of the Kapaa Bypass Road fronting Coco Palms (this project is funded and will being later this year), adding a roundabout at Mailihuna Road and Kuhio Highway (this project is funded and will being early this year), and adding a southbound lane from Kuhio Highway to the Olohena Road roundabout (this project is not currently funded but is programmed for future funding).

Our role as legislators is to seek state funds for these critical highway improvements. To this end, we supported a tax on rental cars to fund highway capacity projects in the county where the tax is collect. This bill passed last year and will help toward addressing our needs on Kauai. More must be done and we will continue to work with the state Department of Transportation so that all projects are completed in a timely manner.

Rep. Nadine Nakamura, District 14

Rep. Dee Morikawa, District 16
Source: The Garden Island

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