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Governor should release funds for Lahaina Harbor dredging

By Staff | Mar 17, 2016

West Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey wonders why Gov. David Ige is sitting on funds to dredge the Lahaina Harbor channel.

Lawmakers have already approved $2,250,000 for the emergency dredging to remove rock and sediment that has accumulated in the harbor channel, posing navigational hazards for vessels – especially at low tide.

The project also includes replacing the marker buoys that guide vessel traffic in the channel.

State officials expected Ige to release the funds two months ago. Suzanne Case, chair of the Board of Land & Natural Resources, sent a letter to the governor on Feb. 26, but he has not yet responded.

“I hope that the governor will take this issue seriously. The state legislature has done their part as far as funding this issue with an emergency request last session. The fact of the matter is that the delay in getting the money released is bothersome at the least,” said McKelvey.

Timing is a factor, because state engineers are currently short-handed and busy, and the consultant for the dredging project is supposed to be on board in May.

Case told Ige why the dredging is important: “This project will eliminate these hazards by restoring adequate depth for the numerous commercial and recreational vessels using this facility. Completion of the work will make the harbor safer and usable for the commuter ferry ships and other harbor users,” she wrote.

The last dredging was done in 2012, and work might not start until July 2018. For information, call Rep. McKelvey’s office at (808) 586-6160.

What is the holdup? Release the funds!