Thursday, June 26, 2008

Community Action Alert: West Maui Needs Transportation Access Plan

Rep. McKelvey of Maui urges the Governor not to veto a bill that would provide residents with an alternative highway transportation access plan in the event of a disaster on the only road in and out of West Maui. In a letter to constituents, he alerts them on the fact that HB2531 is on the intent-to-veto list the administration recently released.

Aloha all,

Thanks to the hard work of members of the community like you, the West Maui Transportation Access Plan bill, HB2531, passed the state legislature this past session.

This bill was borne out of the experience that we, as West Maui residents, endured last year when the Honoapiilani Highway was closed because of the Olowalu fire. Even though it lasted only two days, the chaos that ensued and the stories of people camped along the road like refugees and abandoned cars snarling up the road showed how an event like this has devastating impacts upon our community.

Officials have told me that had the wind not switched, the road could have been closed for a much longer time.This bill, HB2531, would bring together the state and county entities with community groups and private companies to develop a West Maui Transportation Access Plan to provide for alternate ways in and out of West Maui and also provide a framework to try and secure funds these contingency services next session.

We must not allow this bill to vetoed because, as the fire plainly showed last year, time is not a luxury that we in West Maui have when it comes to ensuring that the health and well being our families and friends are protected through pro-active planning.

This bill is critical to ensuring that we are not left stranded when the only highway in and out of West Maui is closed, like what happened last year during the Olowalu brush fire. The bill will only cost the state $50,000, which is pennies compared to the economic and personal harm that will be suffered by the community when the road is closed without a plan to get people in and out of the area.

Sincerely Yours,

State Representative Angus McKelvey, District 10 (West Maui, Maalaea and N. Kihei)

Photo from : Residents park their cars on Honoapiilani Highway while waiting out a fire that burned on the east side of the West Maui Mountains.

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