Ask The Mayor

Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: Would it be possible to brighten the streetlights on Maui at night? I am 58 and while I do not have the greatest eyesight, I am still able to see well driving on Oahu. Thank you.

A: Mahalo for the question and I’d like to ask all our residents and visitors to always drive safely, especially at night with reduced visibility. To help increase safety on our roads, the county Public Works Department is installing nearly 5,000 new energy-saving streetlights throughout the county.

The first phase calls for approximately 1,889 fixtures, and the county has already installed lights in Waikapu, Wailuku Heights and parts of Kahului. Other areas also covered in the first phase are Kahakuloa, Kailua to Hana, and Olowalu to Lahaina. The second phase includes approximately 2,931 fixtures of county-funded streetlights and covers West Maui, Maalaea to Makena, Upcountry, Haiku, Kuau, Spreckelsville, Molokai and Lanai.

We hope to have all of Maui County done by the end of 2019. Traffic impacts will be minimal and electrical service is not expected to be interrupted.

Our new lights were tested on Maui Lani Parkway a few years ago and were rated the best in terms of visibility, even though they use a lot less power than our existing lights and other potential new lights we considered. Public works is partnering with Maui Electric Co. to replace our current high-pressure sodium bulbs with LED lights.

LEDs are one of the most energy-efficient types of lighting, using a fraction of power compared to other types of lights. LEDs also typically have a longer life span, which should reduce long-term streetlight maintenance.

For questions about the installations, residents may call the 270-7845. For more information on how to use energy more efficiently at work and at home, see www.mauielectric.com/save-energy-and-money.

Q: How much longer will the drainage work in Waiehu Heights be going on? Analio Street has become an obstacle course of paved-over construction and sinkholes, bulldozers and road crews. Please finish this project and repave the roads in our neighborhood.

A: I am told by our county Public Works Department that the contractor handling this project is working hard to fix this section of roadway, but it may take a few more months.

Storm drain lines were more than 20 feet below Analio Street, which made it very problematic for the contractor to safely access and replace them. Crews are working to put in concrete lining in the existing 54- and 60-inch pipes.

Then, they will need to complete the resurfacing of the roadways within the scope of the project. As you have already seen, this project has presented many obstacles to workers, and we will continue to monitor the project until it is completed.

The public is encouraged to call the Public Works Department’s Engineering Division at 270-7745 for any issues related to access, maintenance of trenches or safety concerns regarding this project.

Q: Since the Maui Police Department purchased the Bear Cat armored vehicle, little has been said about it. Since purchase, how many times has it been deployed? What is the annual cost to operate and maintain it?

A: This is a very good question, and I have been told that the Maui Police Department’s Lenco “Bearcat” armored vehicle has been deployed for numerous barricaded incidents, bomb threats and high-risk search/arrest warrants involving firearms since it was acquired about six years ago.

Regular annual servicing costs about $170, and the tires have been changed once for $5,000 total. Minor repairs over the years have cost about $1,000.

Other than those expenses, the department pays for diesel fuel, which can fluctuate daily just as regular gas does. The armored vehicle uses about 12 gallons a month, depending on usage.

It should be mentioned that the Hawaii County Police Department was the first in the state to acquire a Bearcat in 2007. The Honolulu Police Department received a similar Bearcat armored vehicle in 2009.

This state-of-the-art vehicle has been invaluable for Maui County police officers and Special Response Team members during dangerous situations and also is used as a static display for various community events. It is unfortunate that we have these hostile situations in our community, but we as a county must be prepared.

Mahalo to our Police Department for protecting our community and putting their lives on the line every day. I would humbly ask all of us to do our part to make Maui County safe for our residents and visitors.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino 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.