By Michael “Mick” Ferreira
If anyone would like to spearhead another campaign to at least get the rest of the funding to get the design finished that would be great. $300,000 more dollars is what is short. It has already at one time been project #1 on the OMPO list. Going to those monthly meetings and advocating for the extension is needed en masse. There is a transportation committee member of the Kapolei Neighborhood Board who goes to it. Perhaps other residents could become part of the Neighborhood Board Transportation Committee.
There is no reason not to build the extension other than what color the money is. Everybody has agreed the extension is needed. The Mayor has spent a lot of money repaving the island which is good but the paving of Makakilo drive really wasn’t needed in a lot of residents’ eyes. Projects like this extension have been approved and unfunded for years. It is time to build it for safety reasons. Two reports describe Makakilo drive as being in a built out area and there is nothing that can be done to make it safer, save for extending Makakilo Drive. Emergency vehicles like ambulances can shave minutes off a trip to the hospital up the road.
There is one way in and out. Over 18,250 people call Makakilo home. It impacts the overall quality of life which is deserved in Makakilo. The new design is at 70% complete. The redesign has lowered the construction $30 Million and we are $300,000 short to complete the design. At 90% of design, land owners in the righto of way like Campbell and Co, D.R. Horton have to be consulted to give up part of their land via imminent domain for a right of way. This is before the $60 Million is needed to build a three quarter mile road.
Consider for a moment that there are no special tax districts here like they have in California where they charge developers per new house for the infrastructure needed to support their projects and it is passed on to the new homeowners, most of them from out of the area. Sound familiar? Now consider these scenarios:
D.R. Horton owns part of the land that the extension runs through. Many residents live in a D.R. Horton houses in upper Makakilo as well. They are also building in Ho’opili. James Campbell &Campbell & Company owns the land Grace Pacific is using. The State even owns some. Many folks were told by a model home sales person when buying a house that the extension was being build within four years. This was in 2002.
If imminent domain gets started, D.R. Horton and James Campbell & Co. has to be bought out. Or should they? In this writer’s humble opinion since their building impacted upper Makakilo, they should use their land and THEY fund and build the project. What about an alternative of paying for half as a partnership with residents? Matching funds with the City & County?
Here are some alternatives. Maybe instead of it being a City road extension of Makakilo Dr. it can be converted to a State project extending North South Road. Developers and the State can help pay for infrastructure like this one via Tax districts that can be subsequently created for just their neighborhood of homes starting with the next project to fund these things. The thoughts of a lot of residents are- “If you profited greatly from developing and building out Makakilo or if you are impacting natural resources and are creating an eyesore tearing up the hill, perhaps there are reparations for that for those residents. Food for thought.
Now consider that our Council Representative for District #1 is in the middle of helping finding funding for the rail system. She unfortunately inherited the problem. However we were fully funded for the extension or at least in striking distance and the Mayor pulled it to send to another district. The Mayor is the holder of the purse strings so it would make sense to go directly to the Mayor with this issue.
Why doesn’t the Representative want to get involved with this? Take a look at campaign contributors. They are everybody from D.R. Horton who owns part of the right of way, James Campbell & Co. to RM Towill who have been continually allocated millions of dollars to do the design work for the project and others. Take a look at the contributors and it is ALL developers. Instead of dodging the issue we should be advocated for and going to them to get this done.
Do you know why this isn’t happening? The Representative is running for Mayor in a year and a half. There is an aversion to not wanting this project to pop up and turn into a failure in the middle of a campaign or fresh on the minds of voters prior. There is a need for personal survival politically for developers’ contributions to be propelled to the next level of the political career ladder. Two elements in an election a candidate doesn’t want to upset. It isn’t even a campaign talking point.
So what does Makakilo do? Keep the Representative’s fingerprints off this issue? Support her and lobby the outgoing Mayor and ask for a project revision and subsequent State support? Mayor Kirk Caldwell may plan on leaving office and is grooming the District 1 Representative is one belief. But, If he wants to stay in office, this may be a big coup for him to get a project done in that district.
Is anyone up for it? There is a bigger groundswell who wants the extension. There is money that can pay for it by the people who own the right of way, it can become a North South Road extension and become the State’s Kuleana. Campbell and Company owns what Grace Pacific is using and D.R. Horton own the other part. A matching funds arrangement is going to be the clear path I can see.