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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Big Island council proposes do-it-yourself rural road repairs

By Jason Armstrong
Hawaii Tribune-Herald

HILO Hawaii County would provide free gravel, cinder and other materials so residents can fix their rural roads, according to a nonbinding proposal advanced by a County Council committee yesterday.

Forming public-private partnerships is the best way to maintain the Big Island's 122.6 miles of "roads in limbo," Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong said.

He has introduced a resolution asking the Department of Public Works to take material from the county's six quarries and deliver it to residents or community groups wishing to patch up roads to their homes.

The county administration in 2006 agreed to maintain the roads which had been "a political football that was punted back and forth between the state and the county," states his resolution. That effort has since cost $2 million.

"A lot of these roads will never get attention unless we do something a little bit different," Yagong said.

His measure drew a supportive 5-4 vote from the council's Public Works and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. The full council is expected to adopt the measure at its April 20 meeting in Keauhou.

Yagong said the partnership will save money and expedite repairs to dirt roads vulnerable to erosion. The administration would still determine who gets the material, none of which could be used for private purposes, according to his proposal.

Council Chairman J Yoshimoto, Hilo members Donald Ikeda and Dennis Onishi, and Ka'u Councilman Guy Enriques voted against it.

"I have a feeling nothing's going to happen even if we pass this," Ikeda said.

They favored affording time to the Department of Public Works to prioritize repairs to be financed with $1 million Director Warren Lee is seeking for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

On the Net:

Read the complete story in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald: www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/articles/2010/04/07/local_news/local03.txt