Inouye Highway held up by landowners
The acquisition of the right of way for highway projects is an ongoing issue for the state and County of Hawaii it seems.
Two projects come to mind; the second phase of the Mamalahoa Highway bypass and the final eastside phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
The Coupe family single-handedly held up the Mamalahoa Highway bypass for 11 years. They fought the condemnation of 1,500 feet of their property all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the Coupe’s petition, which ended their battle and paved the way for the county to acquire the necessary right of way for this much-needed highway.
I’m deeply concerned the final eastside phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is facing the same fate. Three holdout landowners — Marvin Arruda, Richard Alderson and Rick Towill — refuse to convey part of their lands for this 5.7-mile highway. These parcels are located on the Puna side of the Puainako Street Extension and Country Club Drive. I’ve tried to ask the Land Transportation Division of the state Attorney General’s office where things stand with the right of way acquisition for this phase, but it refuses to acknowledge my emails and hide behind attorney-client privilege. The Hawaii Department of Transportation response to my inquiries isn’t much better.
The final eastside phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is currently unfunded. I firmly believe it’s important to finalize the right of way acquisition, so this phase is shovel ready when funding is available.
Money and how fast it can change hands
Money has an important property called velocity. It refers to how often or how fast it changes hands. Give $100 million to the 1 percent and it sits in the bank waiting for an opportunity to do a deal. Distribute $100 million in the form of a dollar an hour and that money will change hands before the sun goes down because poor people always have unmet needs. Chances are it will change hands again the next day or two as storekeepers restock or tradesmen buy materials. Within a month that $100 million has resulted in half a billion dollars of revenue while Mitt Romney is still lining up a deal to put more people on unemployment.