$350K added for electric vehicle rebates
HONOLULU - The state is adding more money to an electric vehicle rebate program and extending the deadline for the rebates.
State officials said that because of an increase in demand for electrical vehicles, $350,000 is being added for rebates on new electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and chargers.
The deadline for the rebates is being extended from March 31 to Nov. 1.
Energy officials say expanding the EV Ready Rebate Program provides a long-term solution as Hawaii works toward reaching energy independence.
Since March 2011, 618 rebates have been approved for 372 vehicles and 246 chargers. Hawaii residents can apply for rebates of up to $4,500 on electric vehicle purchases and up to $500 for chargers. In addition, federal tax incentives of up to $7,500 are also available.
Charter flights benefit Kona economically
HONOLULU - Japan Airlines is operating three sold-out charter flights to Kona International Airport, which are estimated to infuse the state's economy with more than $1 million.
One flight arrived Tuesday, another arrives today and the third is due March 27. Two flights are from Nagoya and one is from Narita. Japan is the largest international market for Hawaii's tourism economy.
Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney said that the flights chartered by Kintetsu International help open up Kona as a strategic port and can help provide a connection point to other Neighbor Islands. He hopes it will lead to a regularly scheduled flight from Japan to Kona.
Anti-rail candidate releases FTA emails
HONOLULU - A former governor who is running for Honolulu mayor in an attempt to stop the city's planned rail line has released emails from the government that he says reveal problems with the project.
Former Gov. Ben Cayetano on Tuesday released internal emails from the Federal Transit Authority, which he obtained as part of his effort to sue in federal court to try to block the project.
One email expresses concern about not taking time to do things right. Another message questions whether the FTA should be associated with Honolulu's "lousy practices of public manipulation."
The FTA responded by reasserting support for the project that will connect West Oahu with Honolulu.
Officials scolded for bookkeeping errors
HONOLULU - A Senate committee is calling for information from state departments after an investigation revealed public employees had been overpaid more than $2 million.
Some of the overpayments go back to 1994, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.
The overpayments include $27,000 to a Department of Education employee after he retired. The state was able to recover almost half of a $31,000 overpayment to a Department of Public Safety employee.
Senators scolded state officials for careless bookkeeping, such as incorrect reporting of leave time that led to employees getting paid more than they should have, or getting paid after leaving the job.