Local Connection: Airport Maintenance

Local Connection: Airport Maintenance

Hawaii lawmakers missed a great opportunity to help our tourism industry, create jobs and improve convenience for Hawaii travelers when they failed to agree on setting up an independent authority to take over Hawaii's airports.

The last straw was the state department of transportation's complete bungling of the billion dollar modernization program.

That led travel businesses who pay for the system -- especially Hawaiian Airlines -- to finally go public with their opinion that the system had to change. The department of transportation agreed.

They teamed up to push the idea that an appointed board and an airport CEO should take over.

But a good idea alone is not enough.

It was introduced this year without clarity about legal, labor and logistical issues. Not all state agencies were on board, and the attorney general failed to answer lawmakers' questions even up to the last day for negotiation.

Labor unions were not comforted by promises from the same administration that botched the Maui hospital turnover. It was disappointing, but 
not surprising that the bill didn't make deadline for passage this year.

Unfortunately, the proposal faced two major obstacles: a risk-averse legislature, and the continuing inability of the Ige administration to orchestrate major initiatives.

Hopefully the urgency of the airport issue will put it at the front of the agenda next year.

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