Carpooling incentive could reduce parking need

Although the County Council cut funds for a Wailuku civic complex from $81 million to $40 million (The Maui News, May 1) by reducing the project to just a parking garage, the cost of each additional parking space created will be $275,000 ($40 million divided by 146 new spaces) if a four-story structure is built. If the project is funded through bonds, the county will pay interest on the debt well into the future, making each additional stall even more costly.

Wouldn’t it be better to offer attractive carpooling incentives to county employees to reduce the need for additional parking? If you paid $100 per month to each carpool, the cost of 146 arrangements would be $14,600 per month, roughly the same as paying 4 percent interest on $40 million worth of county bonds but with the added benefit of reducing fossil fuel consumption and traffic congestion while giving participating employees a means to increase disposable income.

In the meantime, the county could prepare a future-thinking space plan for county facilities, providing the council with better information to make these decisions.

Mark Hyde