Posted on: Monday, January 22, 2001
Lana'i runway: some answers first, please
The states proposal for a longer runway at the Lanai Airport may be a good deal for all concerned, but it should not proceed without some clarity about its long-range effects.
The extension, which presumably would allow jets from the Mainland and elsewhere to fly there nonstop, would cost the state nothing, with David Murdocks Castle & Cooke picking up the states share and federal money covering the lions share. Yet state tax revenues would be enhanced by increased visitor traffic to Lanai.
How much of an increase? The promise of Boeing 737, 757 and 767 service suggests another wave of development on Lanai.
That possibility raises some controversial issues that must be addressed: How does the long-time population feel about new development, and what can be done to preserve their desired lifestyle? How many outsiders would be imported to build and operate new resort properties? Would they also be high-end luxury resorts? Who is responsible for needed new infrastructure: school, hospital, roads and most critical the sufficient availability of potable water?
Given approval of federal spending, the extension could begin in three years if the right answers are forthcoming.
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