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Reject SB2746 SD2 to prevent neighbor island cost increases

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the House Committee on Transportation on March 14, 2024.
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March 14, 2024, 10 a.m.
Hawaii State Capitol
Conference Room 312 and Videoconference

To: House Committee on Transportation
      Rep. Chris Todd, Chair
      Rep. Darius Kila, Vice-Chair

From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
           Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns

RE: TESTIMONY OPPOSING SB2746 SD2 — RELATING TO HARBOR SAFETY

Aloha Chair Todd, Vice-Chair Kila and other Committee members, 

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments in opposition to SB2746 SD2, which would require stevedores to secure the mooring lines of certain vessels requiring tug assistance. 

This bill would not apply to certain vessels — such as those owned by Young Brothers — but it would apply to vessels owned by Hawaii’s many contract carriers, such as Sause Bros., American Marine Corp. and Aloha Marine Lines. These carriers could no longer use their own staff to handle mooring lines, but would have to contract with stevedoring companies. 

Scheduling issues and the intermittent shipments of many contract carriers would turn this mandate into a hassle, costing contract carriers and their customers valuable time and resources. Since neighbor island businesses depend on contract carriers for many essential goods, the effect of this bill would be felt hardest there. 

Jim Gomes from Hawaiian Cement has testified that this bill would increase the cost of concrete on the neighbor islands by $7 a ton, which would have ripple effects on county economies — especially on Maui where construction materials will be in high demand as rebuilding efforts progress. 

When a similar measure was heard last year, Hawaiian Electric Co. pointed out that it could increase the cost of electricity for the neighbor islands too, since most fuel needed for the oil-fired generators on those islands must be transshipped from Oahu.

“The estimated monthly bill increase related to this bill is $3.92 per month for Moloka‘i, $0.50 per month for Hawai‘i Island, and $0.26 per month for Maui,” the utility wrote.

We urge the committee to defer this measure so as not to further increase Hawaii’s cost of living.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Ted Kefalas
Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

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