Ask The Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: Who is responsible for the upkeep of the strip of land on the west side of Kamehameha Avenue between Papa Avenue and Kuhao Street in Kahului? Why are private vehicles being allowed to be permanently parked/stored on this land, as well as piles of debris and overgrown grass and weeds to flourish? If you take a walk down the sidewalk in this area, you’ll discover that at least one part of it is routinely being used as a urinal.

A: The adjacent property owner is responsible for maintaining and weeding the planter shoulder area, according to Maui County Code Section 12.24A.070E. The code also prohibits vehicles to be parked within the shoulder area. Affected residents should contact Maui Police Department’s nonemergency number (244-6400) to notify them of the parking violation. The Department of Public Works will notify the adjoining owners related to maintaining the shoulder area.

Q: We understand that the County Council is looking at increasing the cost of bus fares significantly. Maui Bus monthly passes would go up from $45 to $60; daily passes from $4 to $5 for fixed routes; one-way commuter routes would increase from $2 to $3; paratransit from $2 to $3 per ride; monthly passes for seniors from $25 per month to $37.50. Please compare fares and fees charged by TheBus, public transportation operated by the City & County of Honolulu. Of specific and particular concern are fares and passes for seniors. On The Maui Bus, seniors pay $25 per month, or $300 per year. On TheBus in Honolulu, seniors pay $30 for one year and $60 for two years. The $270 per year difference is of great and significant impact when most seniors are on fixed incomes. The $270 enables seniors to purchase food, provide for shelter, pay for medications and other essentials. We encourage a review of the current fare and pass structure for The Maui Bus.

A: I’m not sure where you heard the above information, but it is not correct. While fare increases are written into the Maui Short-Range Transit Plan, they are nowhere near being implemented. The public, especially Maui Bus riders, would be given ample opportunity to comment on any proposed fare hikes prior to them being implemented. And in regard to the Honolulu fares, the population there is more than six times Maui County’s population, so their ridership would likely be proportionately higher as well. Our Maui Bus fares as adopted by the County Council currently generate about $2.8 million annually with about a $22 million subsidy from county funds to the county Department of Transportation for all transit services. Please keep in mind that within this $22 million, over $6 million goes to MEO transportation largely to serve our senior citizens with some of the funding for Youth Transportation services and to assist persons with disabilities beyond the paratransit services mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Q: Does the county have plans to repave Pulehu Road from the Hansen Road intersection to the Pulehu/Omaopio fork? I realize that many heavy trucks utilize this stretch of important roadway and that there are particular challenges to working on that section, but there are multiple areas which have become almost impossible to navigate safely. Many cars are forced to drive in the middle of the road to avoid some of the worst holes, which puts them into incoming traffic on dangerous curves with many heavy vehicles present. The situation has now become quite dangerous. The safety of the area’s residents and the extreme wear and tear on our vehicles demand a planned repaving at the earliest opportunity.

A: Yes, I drive on this rural road quite frequently and know firsthand the unique challenges it presents. I have requested that Public Works Department staff visit the area to inspect the condition of this particular section of the road, and evaluate what short-term and long-term measures can be taken, and what funding may be available in the coming fiscal years.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at askthemayor@mauicounty.gov, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email mayors.office@mauicounty.gov.

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