Report: Car facility needed for expected growth

Expected growth in the rental car industry at Kahului Airport drives the need for the proposed Consolidated Rental Car Facility, according a draft environmental report.

Projections in the draft report show that an additional 8 acres, or a total of 49 acres, are needed to accommodate rental car facilities by 2020 and an additional 12.5 acres, or a total of 53.5 acres, by 2025. Seven rental car companies currently operate on 41 acres, northwest of the terminal off the airport loop road.

The state Department of Transportation has proposed building a 3-level structure that would bring all the rental car agencies under one roof. The building mainly will be used for rental car pickup and return and for car washing and other car-prepping activities.

The proposed facility would have about 4,200 stalls for rental car use, which will be 2,000 more than the projected demand of nearly 2,200 stalls needed for rental cars by 2025, according to the report.

All the customer service desks and offices would be housed in the facility with one trolley/shuttle connecting the facility and the airport terminal. Currently, each rental car agency has its own shuttle.

There would be 719 airport and car rental employee parking spaces and 400 rental car staging and storage spots on the third floor and a 15,000-gallon fuel tank in the proposed facility, the report said.

The proposed facility will be used mainly for the “quick turnaround” of vehicles, with most overflow storage – which is becoming a problem – at the current rental car site near the airport.

“Rental car companies frequently run out of space and park in any available spaces around the airport,” the report said.

The 16.7-acre site proposed for the facility is southwest of the current public parking lot and will be encompassed by the proposed “Airport Loop Road,” which will drastically redesign traffic flow through the airport area.

The site also will help achieve two other goals – to reduce traffic in the airport loop by making more efficient use of shuttles and to reduce wait and travel times for rental car customers, the report said.

Caroline Sluyter, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, said recently that the facility is in the design phase with tentative plans to begin work in February with completion estimated near the end of 2015.

In the draft report, five sites around the airport were identified as possible locations for the car rental facility – including ones that abutted Hana Highway and Alahao Street near Kanaha Beach Park – with the site in the Airport Loop Road deemed the preferred site. No off-airport sites were identified as possible locations for the facility.

The draft report concludes that there are no cultural or environmental effects from the project. The facility may have “incidental” impacts on the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat and/or the habitat of the Blackburn’s sphinx moth. The site is in the 100-year flood plain of Kalialinui Stream, though without residential property downstream, there is no flood or safety risk, the report said.

The report was made available Friday at Copies of the draft environmental assessment are available at the Kahului Library.

Public comments on the report must be received by 5 p.m. April 8. They may be submitted by mail or fax to Hawaii Department of Transportation, Attention: Jeffrey Chang, Engineering Program Manager, DOT-Airports Division (AIR-EP), Engineering Branch, 400 Rodgers Blvd., 7th Floor, Honolulu 96819. The fax number is (808) 838-8753.

For more information, call (808) 838-8835.

* Lee Imada can be reached at