Transportation Update: 2nd Access Road

Sen. Shimabukuro’s Testimony:

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization

Policy Committee

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To:                   Chair and Committee Members

From:               Senator Maile S. L. Shimabukuro

Re:                   Revision #2 to FY 2012 Overall Work Program

Deletion of the Wai’anae Coast Access Alternatives Study

I thank the Chair and Committee Members for the opportunity to offer written testimony in strong opposition to that part of Item II on today’s agenda that proposes to delete a Wai’anae Coast Transportation Security Study.  As Senator from the district that would benefit from such a study, I support its stated objectives: “to identify, analyze, and compare all feasible methods to improve access to and from the Wai’anae Coast, especially during and following major weather events which, in the past, have resulted in the closure of Farrington Highway.”

During the nine years I have served in both the House and Senate I have both introduced and supported legislation to do something about this critical access situation.  In my first year in office, I introduced a bill to direct OMPO’s Policy Committee to include the Wai’anae second access road project in the TOP 2025 and identify immediate sources of funding for the project—including priority of the project in the Oahu Transportation Improvement Program.  In the past 2011 session, I introduced resolutions requesting our state Department of Transportation, with OMPO’s assistance, to conduct a study on the feasibility of using Kolekole Pass Road as an alternative means of access to and from the Leeward Coast of Oahu.

I note that the reason given for the deletion is that the state DOT has withdrawn its support because of limited funding resources.  However, it is essential that all levels of government—city, state, and federal—work cooperatively to find a solution to a problem that has long been acknowledged in word but ignored in deed.  There are signs, however, that the tide is turning.  The Navy, which closed Kolekole Pass a year ago as unsafe for vehicular travel, is on record as wanting to return the road to the state within ten years.  In August Senator Daniel Inouye announced that Hawaii will receive a $2.5 million federal grant from the U.S. DOT to repair and reopen the pass as an emergency evacuation route.

OMPO today has the opportunity to become part of a government/community team effort to make a significant contribution to finding a solution to a longstanding transportation problem.  Deleting this item from your Overall Work Program would be a step backward.  I urge you to keep it where it is. Work with us to insure that the people of the Wai’anae Coast finally get their long-awaited emergency access road.

Mahalo for your attention to this urgent matter!

[Note: Our understanding is that following the hearing in December 2011, OMPO’s Policy Committee voted to keep the Waianae Coast Access Alternatives Study in its plan.  Mahalo to all who fought for this action.]

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for ‘keeping on about the second road’.

    All those of us who live here truly appreciate all you do for us. You are awesome……….Carol

    Like

  2. Thank you, Maile, for your continued work concerning finding an alternate route out of Waianae. Thank you for listening and being a voice for the Waianae Coast. It is gratifying to know that OMPO is listening to us once again. Our community is growing, we need to look ahead/plan for any future circumstance because we have great people living on the coast!

    Like

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