By Wendy Osher
A bill seeking a reduction in shipping time and costs for the transport of goods between Moloka’i and Lana’i to Oahu, continues to make its way through the state Legislature.
Since it crossed over to the Senate for review, an amendment was made to add Hana community member representative to a working group, and expand discussion to include examination of shipping costs from Hana, Maui to Oahu.
The same amendment also sought the addition of a representative from the Farmers Union United to serve on the expanded 15-member working group.
Rep. Mele Carroll of Maui, who introduced the measure said, “The passage of House Bill 2380 HD2 SD2 is critical and necessary for the survival of our farmers, growers, business owners and rural communities in House District 13 where shipping is concerned.”
“We need a viable and workable plan that brings balance and makes sense especially when we create policies and laws that impacts our communities who have experienced unfair and disadvantaged economic hardships and challenges,” said Rep. Carroll.
Mapu Kekahuna, a resident of Nahiku and the Vice President of the Nahiku Community Association was among those who expressed a need for the working group to be established.
“In the East Maui District which includes Haiku, Huelo, Kailua, Keana’e, Wailuanui, Nahiku, Hana, Kipahulu and Kaupo,” she said, “we have many farmers and growers that are struggling and depend on shipping and exporting their goods out to customers outside of Maui in a fast track timely manner because their goods may deteriorate and no longer have the same quality once the customer receives their product.”
The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted on Thursday to pass the bill with amendments.
“This bill is essential and I am grateful that my colleagues support this measure and its moving in the Senate,” said Rep. Carroll.
“We need to work with all stakeholders including the shipping industry, all farmers and growers as well as the private and public sectors to come up with a unique plan design that meets the needs of our rural business communities,” she said.