Lingle Says She Won't Fund Pedestrian Safety Bill

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Governor Lingle vetoes a bill setting aside $3 million for pedestrian safety improvements, but it still becomes law. That's because state lawmakers Tuesday, chose to over-ride the governor's veto. So the bill officially becomes law. But that doesn't mean the safety improvements are on their way.

Lingle wants the money taken from the state's general fund. The bill takes it from the State Highway Fund, which the Governor says is potentially costing the state $12-million.

"It's the source we use to get matching federal dollars, which is on a four to one matching basis," said Lingle. "So for every dollar taken out, we lose four more dollars, potentially, because we could get a match from the federal government."

"We cannot understand why the Governor would do this on a matter of personal safety, pedestrian safety," said Stuart Ho, AARP state president. "Three million dollars is not a lot of money considering what's at stake here."

Lingle says since 1995, $150 million has been taken from the highway fund, causing our roads to be among the worst in the nation. A recent national study ranks hawaii 46th out of 50. So she's not releasing the $3 million for pedestrian safety.

"That's where I'm asking AARP and others to go and see the governor," said Rep. Calvin Say. "Ask the governor to release the funds."

"It's up now to the Governor to explain to the people why, even if the legislature feels so strongly about it, she just can't live with it," said Sen. Colleen Hanabusa.

Apparently she can't. And now everyone in the state will have to manage.

The governor says she would've signed the bill if lawmakers made the change to the general fund. Lawmakers say it's too late, and there are too many moving parts to make that kind of change.

They say if that's how she feels, she should've come to them earlier.