State briefs for October 5

Officials want $64M to fix convention center deck

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Tourism Authority plans to seek $64 million from the state’s capital improvements budget to fix a leaky rooftop deck at the Hawaii Convention Center.

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That’s more than double what the agency had last anticipated it would cost to complete the largest deferred maintenance project at the building, which opened in 1998.

It’s a substantial reinvestment in a center that cost $200 million to construct.

Julian Anderson, who presented recommendations to the Hawaii Tourism Authority board last Thursday on behalf of Honolulu-based property manager Rider Levett Bucknall, said the deck was still structurally safe.

However, he said, components of contractor Nordic/PCL’s design were guaranteed for only 15 to 20 years, so it’s well past time to address the leaky rooftop.

“This is an issue that has existed since the building was designed. Repair is not an option; replacement is required,” he said. “If work is not done, the amount of damage will continue to increase, and more rentable space will be taken out of inventory.”

Officials at the center requested about $27 million from the Legislature in 2017 to fix the rooftop deck. However, legislators did not approve the improvements.

Repair costs for the project now start at $54 million, which would include fixing two stairways and repairing the deck by adding pedestrian pavers and possibly a concrete overlay to increase loading capacity and resist future cracking.

But the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s latest capital improvement request is for $64 million, which also includes installing shades to cover 50% of the rooftop terrace. Hawaii Convention Center General Manager Teri Orton recommended investing in shades, which would cool the space, eliminate the need for tents and provide more options for clients in inclement weather.

Demand slows for Maui rental cars after earlier shortage

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — Demand for rental cars on Maui is slowing down after a shortage of vehicles sent prices soaring when more tourists returned amid the pandemic.

Parked vehicles have been filling fields near the airport as the number of tourists declined in September and daily car rentals dropped slightly.

In April and May, vehicles booked up quickly at Maui Car Rentals, manager Kali‘i Oliveira said.

While September and October tend to be slower months, Oliveira said they’ve also been losing reservations since Gov. David Ige last month asked visitors to postpone travel to Hawaii to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

There are about 120 vehicles in Maui Car Rentals’ fleet, with about 20 to 30 of them “just kind of sitting here right now,” Oliveira said.

Demand was so high earlier this year that one customer asked to rent Oliveira’s personal vehicle for $100 a day.

In May and April, a reservation cost $1,000 to $2,000 for five days. Last week, prices at major car rental companies ranged from about $300 to about $700.

Future USS Daniel Inouye departs for the Pacific Ocean

BATH, Maine (AP) — The future USS Daniel Inouye departed shipbuilder Bath Iron Works on Monday en route to its home in the Pacific Ocean.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer made its way down the Kennebec River and then into the North Atlantic, officials said.

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The warship bears the name of the late U.S. senator from Hawaii who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Italy in World War II. Inouye died in 2012.

The ship will eventually make its way to Hawaii where it will be commissioned and stationed at Pearl Harbor.

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