May 1996 Home   Newsletters

June 1996

July-August 1996

President's Message (Astrid Monson)
Council Decision of Con Con (Jean Aoki)
Human Resources Project Progress Report (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Excerpts from "Financing the United Nations" (Donald S. Grubbs Jr.)
Transportation (Arlene Ellis)
Board Summary
Election Volunteers
Saunders Endowment to Support Lifelong Learning
Roster Changes

Transportation

The recent Legislature has included in its current supplementary budget $20.4 million for land acquisition and preparation for the Ka Iwi shoreline park extending from Hanauma Bay to Makapuu Point. Federal Highway Funds would provide $17 million of this, to help pay for some 350 acres at Queen's Beach, owned by Bishop Estate and leased to Kaiser Development Company.

The site is already part of the Court-mandated settlement process entered into by the City Council and a group of East Honolulu landowners who have agreed to drop seven or eight pending law-suites against the City if they are given approval to proceed with twelve East Honolulu projects, one of which is the Queen's Beach Golf Course.

In a parallel action, as a kind of insurance, the developers are applying for a Shoreline Management and Plan Review Use approval to develop the Golf Course irrespective of the outcome of the over-all settlement.

On December 6, 1995, Honolulu League reviewed the Ka Iwi State Park Master Plan and draft EIS. We strongly supported the Plan which involves a Regional park totaling 1,625 acres, of which 361 are shown as Queen's Beach and the remainder already owned by the City and State. We urged that acquisition of the land be started as soon as possible, and that certain undeveloped land parcels mauka of Kalanianaole Highway, such as the 30-acre parcel involved in the Sandy Beach initiative, be added to the park area. We pointed out that in the long run the costs of providing water, sewerage, roads, police protection and other public facilities to support whatever private development might otherwise take place on the Queen's Beach site would be high and would not preserve the area for permanent public recreational and scenic enjoyment. The result would be that "we would have lost an unparalleled opportunity which can never be duplicated."

According to an article in the 5/15/96 Advertiser, the Federal Highway funds would go for a scenic highway beautification and park project and would block major housing and resort development planned for the area [by its developers]". The Federal Funds involved are authorized under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA).

Hank Dittmar, executive director of the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP), in a recent article in "Environment & Economic Development", the American Planning Association newsletter, says: "We've seen three-quarters of a billion dollars programmed for transportation enhancements - rail-trails, bicycle and pedestrian, projects, historic preservation of transportation facilities, easements and scenic facilities. The amount actually spent is much less. We've seen $2.1 billion transferred and spent on transit projects from the highway account as of the end of fiscal year `95.

"The highway lobby is still the second-largest PAC contributor in National politics." There is a longstanding "relationship between road contractors and state highway departments and legislators that has been in place since the interstate system got created."

Dittmar claims that cities and local communities however, are beginning to see the possibilities of the use of ISTEA funds. Such facilities as child care centers. health clinics, housing infrastructure, retail stores, and parking lots have been built near highways and transit stations either from these funds or under the Congestion Management & Air Quality (CMAQ) program.

Dittmar continues that there is an increasing trend toward integrating comprehensive city planning with transportation planning and developing low-cost measures to improve both. Planners are proposing using transportation dollars for infrastructure for mixed-use development, to build sidewalks, or to coordinate management systems. They criticize the latter as not being related to achieving goals and measuring progress toward those objectives. Local input, planners feel, needs to play a much larger role in the planning of transportation facilities. They urge a partnership between local, state and federal governments.

Here in Hawaii, approximately $32 million in ISTEA funds have been available from 1992 to 1997. We have the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OMPO), which is supposed to involve public participation in planning transportation projects, with both city and state legislature represented.

Dittmar finally states that "the planning community is going to have to talk about ISTEA plans and programs as budgetary control documents to ensure that projects are delivered within budget. Instead of wish lists used to justify tax increases, we're beginning to be more responsive about maintaining the system and getting performance out of it. Planners will have to talk in terms of performance, about local decision making and local control and about flexibitily and choice. They're going to make the planning process one of partnership and openness rather than an impenetrable bureaucratic exercise."

Arlene Ellis
Chair Transportation Committee

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