Letters for Oct. 19, 2016

• ‘Go after grants we need’

‘Go after grants we need’

For those of you who are not familiar with the TIGER grant that our county just went after and obtained, let me brief you on what it does and does not do.

We were awarded about $14 million of federal funds with our needing to put up $2 million of county funds to get it — federal or local all our tax money. The stipulation to get this grant was, “Research, demonstrate or pilot projects are eligible only if they result in surface transportation infrastructure.”

The Council has introduced Resolution 2016-57 which is solely for the reconfiguration of Rice Street in Lihue — taking away two of the four existing lanes and adding bike lanes, wider sidewalks, crosswalks and amending and establishing parking restrictions and bus stops.

Since on a prioritized list of what Kauai needs to address the most, traffic would be No. 1 or No. 2. To spend our time and money to secure a $14 million grant is commendable, but to get it for jamming up traffic on Rice Street is ridiculous.

Rice street was once two lanes and our engineers in their wisdom added two more lanes to keep vehicles moving without slowing them down. Now, with even more vehicles on the roads than there were when two lanes were added, our “leaders” want to exacerbate the traffic problems and narrow the street even more than it once was!!

The administration has also said that this Rice Street reconfiguration will slow traffic down (very true) and make it more conducive for people to stop and go to the stores and restaurants — not true!!

The businesses like Big Save market, Sears and all the others that were once there moved to other locations (Kukui Grove) and are not coming back. To say that we can use this grant to make Lihue a “Town Core Mobility and Revitalization” project is a dream and a complete waste of money. Lihue is now a government headquarters — county and state — and not an area that people will flock to to walk, bike or shop.

Like the gold rush days, when the gold petered out the towns became ghost towns and that’s what happened to Lihue. It is what it is today and no amount of money will change it. Go after grants that we need and benefit all the people and not ones that will negatively effect us.

Glenn Mickens, Kapaa

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