EXCLUSIVE: Payment dispute stalls major airport project
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just months before completion, the state has fired the contractor for the $66 million cargo and maintenance facility that's being built for Hawaiian Airlines.
"We're almost two years behind schedule," said state Sen. Lorraine Inouye, chair of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee. "It's kind of sad that we've already had delayed the modernization of the entire project."
Inouye said the project, which is being paid for by airport landing fees, was put on hold because contractor DCK was not paying its subcontractors. Some of those subs say they're owed millions of dollars.
The hangar, a state-of-the-art facility the size of a small shopping center, will eventually replace Hawaiian's cramped facilities on Elliott Street.
The project's exterior is completed but work still needs to be done on the interiors. An inspection of the site shows that all of the concrete for the facility has been laid, but finishes need to be applied in several places. Parked backhoes and excavators owned by subcontractors remain on the construction site.
Hawaii News Now has learned that some subs can't get their equipment back because of DCK's dispute with the state.
"It's unfortunate, I understand that the subcontractors may not get their paychecks," Inouye said.
Under Hawaii law, the state can't pay the subs directly and can only pay the general contractor. But Inouye says she plans to introduce legislation to change that. She also wants to look at how the state awards contracts to low-bidders, who wind up cutting corners.
"Low bidders may not have a good track record. I think we need to do more background checks," Inouye said.
HNN reached out to DCK for comment, but did not receive a response.
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