Water Feature and Tram Part of Kahului Airport’s Rent-A-Car Facility
The state Department of Transportation Airports Division today celebrated the groundbreaking of the new $340 million Consolidated Rent-A-Car facility at Maui’s Kahului Airport.
The facility will house more than a dozen rental car companies in one location, essentially moving the current operation which is separate from the main terminal, to one that is much closer near the old cell phone parking lot off of Hemaloa Street.
Two unique features include an electric tram system that will eventually be powered by solar energy, and a 140,000 gallon water feature with cascading waterfalls. Transportation officials say the water feature has a dual purpose–to enhance the peaceful aesthetic of the location and to irrigate the surrounding landscape.
“The project adds beauty and functionality to Kahului, and it also goes a long way toward meeting Governor David Ige’s goals for improving the environment, traffic, energy and the economy,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Director. “This new facility exemplifies the Airports mission of providing an Airports System that reflects the unique spirit of Aloha and connects Hawaiʻi with the world.”
Transportation officials say the new facility will help to relieve congestion around the airport by eliminating the need for 25 shuttle buses that make an average of 85 trips an hour to the terminal. The electric tram will be built on a rail system that is designed to provide quick and efficient transport between the terminal and rental car counters. It will also be designed to reflect the island’s plantation roots.
Kahului Airport is home to more than a dozen airlines that serve an average of nearly 8,000 passengers per day. Transportation officials note that Kahului Airport rents the most cars of all the airports in the state with an average of 2,200 cars rented every day. That’s more than twice the amount at Honolulu.
The facility itself will be a three level structure encompassing rental car offices, customers service counters, ready and return rental car spaces, and “Quick-Turn-Around” areas with fuel and car wash facilities to service rental car fleets.
Outside, there will be nearly 3,800 parking stalls dedicated to the rental car companies plus another 700 dedicated to employee parking for a total of nearly 4,500 parking stalls.
Access to the facility is planned through a new access road that will extend from the Hāna Highway to the Airport Loop Road.
The project will be completed in approximately three and a half years and will employ more than 200 people on the site, with a total industry employment of more than 500 jobs. The lead contractor is Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company and the design team is led by Demattei Wong Architects.
Transportation officials note that no taxpayer money was used to fund the multi-million dollar facility. The entire cost was funded solely by a Customer Facility Charge which consists of a daily charge of $4.50 to those who rent a car.
The Maui Conrac is part of the $2.7 billion statewide Modernization Program that is designed to improve facilities at airports around the state.
Senate Majority Leader, Senator J. Kalani English, (Dist.7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Kaho‘olawe) in 2010 while Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, introduced Senate Bill 2461 (Act 204), that provided funding for rental car improvements statewide.
“We recognized the need for improvements for motor vehicle rental concessions years ago,” said Sen. English in a press release statement. “The Maui Conrac will be an example of how the facility charge is a worthy investment that enhances the visitor experience in Hawai‘i.”
Senator Rosalyn Baker (Dist.6 – South and West Maui) was a co-sponsor on the bill, but was unable to attend the ground breaking ceremony. She said she was pleased to see the project finally come to fruition. “The Conrac will not only be convenient and esthetically pleasing, but more importantly, environmentally friendly,” said Sen. Baker in a statement.
Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (Dist. 5 – Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului) was among the dignitaries who attended and spoke at today’s event. He said, “Maui accounts for 35% of car rental revenues statewide, so the convenience and efficiencies provided by this Conrac will support our visitor industry. Already 70% of our economy, tourism jobs will play a bigger part with the closure of Maui’s sugar operations.”