Letters 7-6-13


New seat belt law just a money maker?

The governor and others have gathered at the click-it-ticket convention promoting their seat belt safety law in the name of safety. The word “ticket” is totally monetary.

The entire seat belt law is kind of hog wash when a 15-year-old can ride in the back of a pickup as tethered or untethered “cargo.” I know it’s been brought up before in the Legislature and couldn’t be shoved through like the one today because it is a custom.

The news article did not give the stats on how many people have been injured or have died from being expelled from the cargo area of a vehicle and they have the stats.

Follow the money. Some customs are “to die for.”

Jim Wiese

Kailua-Kona

Delay of Saddle Road phase, highway widening a concern

I’m very disappointed how Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration has managed the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and the last Hilo side phase of Saddle Road. The Section 106 consultation process between the Native Hawaiian organizations and Federal Highway Administration/Department of Transportation has entered its 20th month.

The Federal Highway Administration and Department of Transportation are keeping the public in the dark regarding these consultations, so no one knows where things stand with this project. The Queen Kaahumanu Highway website hasn’t been updated since Sept. 25, 2012.

The Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening should’ve been completed three years ago, but it is on hold because of various issues. There may be a light at the end of tunnel though. The state DOT hopes to break ground on this project in August, according to the April Board of Water Supply meeting minutes. However, the calendar isn’t a friend of this latest start date. Several outstanding issues need to be resolved, such as the completion of the ongoing Section 106 consultation process, before this project can move forward.

The last east side Saddle Road phase (between mile markers 5.3 and 11) is the other project botched by Abercrombie’s administration. The state DOT asked the state Attorney General’s office to begin condemnation proceedings against the three remaining landowners in 2012, whose land is required for this new highway.

The Land Transportation Division of the Attorney General’s office has yet to initiate any of these lawsuits, as of January. The state DOT recently submitted the last Saddle Road phase for a fiscal year 2013 TIGER grant. I’m deeply concerned this right-of-way issue may influence the chances of this phase being awarded a TIGER grant.

I’ve tried to convey my concerns to the state DOT and Federal Highway Administration powers that be. However, they’ve ignored nearly all my emails regarding these two much-needed projects.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona