Think About It: Building Blocks - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

January 9, 2012

Think About It: Building Blocks

State senators are looking to pump a half-billion dollars into our economy through much-needed construction and infra-structure repair projects. The funding from this would come through bonds, and there appear to be plenty of willing buyers. With low interest rates, cheaper labor, and lots of motivation to help the construction industry mired in a recession, this all seems like a good idea. This funding would have to be on top of the $300-million construction money that the governor recently asked the legislature for.

Yes, this would add to the debt-service, but there are people willing to buy bonds, borrowing rates are low by historical standards and the buildings and people sure need the work. But the problem might be in the process. Yes, the bloated, slow-moving system once again might keep projects from getting started for far too long. So before we start wringing our hands at bureaucracy surrounding permitting, approvals, and procurement, here's an idea. If we are willing to pony up $300- to $800-million on projects, then let's find a few million dollars on a short-term basis to get the tools in place to quickly get processing handled. If the state needs to hire more administrators, inspectors, architects, and others to ensure the fastest flow of paperwork in our state's history, then do it.

But please, let's not let process and systems be used as the excuse for not letting some of these projects get underway. If it is a fiscally reasonable move to push forward and pay through bonds for projects for our state university, public schools, and roads, then let's get it done by bringing in the necessary personnel to make it happen faster than ever, without cutting corners or skipping checklists. Our infrastructure is failing us. Let's not allow red tape to cause even more failure when we have this opportunity. Think about it…

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