By Wendy Osher
Maui lawmakers responded with positive feedback after learning that the governor is releasing $305.5 million for a planned Consolidated Car Rental Facility  and roadway improvements at Kahului Airport.
The announcement was made on Monday, with the Kahului funds making up most of a $335 million funding release for capital improvement projects at airports across the state.
Maui Representative Justin Woodson, who represents Kahului, issued a statement saying he and the rest of the Maui delegation have been “working hard to impress upon the governor the longstanding need” for upgrades and “responsible expansion” at the Kahului Airport and car rental facility.
He continued saying he is “grateful that the monies were ultimately released. As part of our statewide system of airports, these improvements to Maui Airport are a critical investment in our visitor industry and in our local economy.”
He said the fund would also help to “reduce access traffic to and from the airport and improve the airport experience for both Maui’s residents and visitors.”
According to the funding release announcement, the governor said construction will include the following: a customer service building, quick turnaround, ready and return vehicle parking spaces, four 15,000-gallon fuel storage tanks, a people mover system to and from the terminal, site improvements, roadway connections to airport terminal roadways, additional employee parking spaces and potential flat-plate, non-reflective photovoltaic panels. There will also be a new access road to the facility running from Hāna Highway to Airport Loop Road.
Maui’s senatorial delegation also weighed in on the funding release.
Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, who represents Kahului called the project “important” and said it would benefit all of Maui. “It will create more local construction jobs, stimulate the economy, and improve the overall customer experience for residents and visitors. I am looking forward to work on this project breaking ground.”
Fellow Senator Roz Baker said the facility will “streamline the car rental process.” In a joint statement issued by the Maui delegation, she said, “Airport modernization is good for Maui and the state, and projects like this will certainly improve our tourism industry.”
Senator J Kalani English of East Maui also commented, “Right now customers have to drive through the terminal roadway system to get to the existing rental car facilities, causing congestion in front of the terminals. A new access road from Hāna Highway to Airport Loop will help to alleviate traffic congestion at the airport.”