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Finding solutions to transportation challenges

 

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona speaks with Panos Prevedouros and state DOT Director Brennon Morioka. (Photo courtesy of the Lt. Governor's Office)

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona speaks with Panos Prevedouros and state DOT Director Brennon Morioka. (Photo courtesy of the Lt. Governor's Office)

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Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona directly addressed Hawaii’s transportation challenges as he appealed to engineers and planners from around the world to find solutions to the traffic issues that are shaping how people structure their days, interact with families and inhabit their neighborhoods.

“Here in Hawaii, like many other states and countries, traffic congestion is one of the major issues facing residents,” Aiona told an estimated 200 transportation officials gathered last week at the International Symposium of Freeway and Tollway Operations.

“The time our residents spend stuck in gridlock is valuable time that could be better spent with family and friends,” Aiona said. “Also, traffic congestion has a negative impact on our local economy. When there is congestion on our roadways, it affects the efficient and safe movement of goods and services.”

The longer freight spends navigating roads, the more consumers pay in the stores, he said.

“And traffic congestion will only get worse, if we miss the opportunity to address it, or worse – do nothing about it,” Aiona said.

For the Administration’s part, the state Department of Transportation is aggressively pursuing three major initiatives. Among them is a 12-year, $2.3 billion Airports Modernization Plan aimed at transforming Hawaii airports into world-class facilities.

Another initiative focuses on investing nearly $1 billion over six years to upgrade commercial harbors, whose shipments account for 98 percent of consumer goods imported to the state.

In addition, the Department of Transportation’s vision includes an ambitious $4.2 billion highway modernization project that concentrates on 183 projects, including 161 projects in the four counties and 22 statewide projects. The highway modernization plan aims to improve safety and quality of life for Hawaii’s commuters.

In closing his speech, Aiona told the international group of planners, engineers and highway officials at the conference that “your goal is our goal, and together we will realize the promise of a better, safer transportation system for our communities.”

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