Infrastructure first, please

With all due respect to Mr. Takata for his “Viewpoint” article in the 6/14

Forum, “Kaua’i’s Economy Is a Three-legged Chair,” one wonders why neither he

nor other advocates concentrate on first preparing our infrastructure properly,

before pushing for more and more tourism.

Certainly no one can deny that

tourism is an integral part of keeping our economy healthy, but there has to be

a point of diminishing return if our roads, our highways, our beaches and

recreational areas are already overly used and deteriorated. Tourists will not

plan to return to this island paradise. (Once a wise business man who had a

franchise for McDonald’s here stated that he made sure that his restaurants

were in perfect condition before he opened his doors to the public and that the

service given made the customers want to return).

By spending millions of

dollars enticing more and more tourists to come to our island, we are burying

our heads in the sand and not facing the real problems to be solved — traffic

jams, gridlock, tons of waste, recreational areas under-maintained, hiking

trails so overused that their pristine beauty is being destroyed and restrooms

crying out for upkeep and repair. How long do you think it will take these

tourists to figure out that they can sit in a traffic jam in L.A., Chicago or

New York instead of coming to Kaua’i and spend their time sitting bumper to

bumper to travel from Puhi to Ha’ena?

The key word here is prioritize!

Where is our administration on this issue? Taking junkets to the 4 corners of

the world to promote more tourism and not addressing these problems here at

home. Shouldn’t we put a hold on promotion and do whatever it takes to repair

and build our infrastructure so that our island can truly accommodate the

tourists and others who are moving here?

I have great sympathy for all the

workers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and all others who must daily fight

their way around the island to go to and from their work. Thirty or forty years

ago one of our senators outlined a by-pass road that was needed then and is

still not on the drawing board. The state points the finger at the county and

vice-versa and thus we sit with gridlock growing worse each day. Any problem is

this island’s problem and it should not be tossed back and forth like a

volleyball.

Yes, Mr. Takata, “we must have the flexibility to build out to

a sustainable visitor capacity,” but that capacity has already reached its

finite state and unless we take emergency measures to fix our infrastructure,

those tourism numbers will quickly go south!

Glenn

Mickens

Kapa’a

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