Bill Advances to Reduce Molokai Shipping Costs
State of Hawaii News Release
Last week, a bill passed another hurdle on its way to establishing a working group to explore options for reducing shipping costs from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu. House Hill 2380, Relating to Shipping, passed the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce with unanimous testimony in support of the measure.
Molokai homestead farmer and rancher, Lynn DeCoite submitted testimony in strong support of House Bill 2380 HD1. “The island of Molokai feels that this bill is critical to the survival of our economy,” she said. “We have been crippled with nowhere else to turn. We need options, not a monopoly.”
The bill calls for a working group established within the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). The working group is being tasked to consider strategies for reducing shipping time and cost including amending any existing statute, administrative rules or ordinance; the feasibility of alternative modes of transportation or other means of shipping freight between islands; reducing taxes; creating tax incentives; and any other issues the working group considers appropriate.
The working group would be comprised of 13 members including state and county officials, representatives of ariculture and shipping industries and Molokai and Lanai representatives.
Should this bill see passage, the working group would report to the legislature its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, in 2013.
“If we are going to support agriculture and assist the islands of Molokai and Lanai to be the bread basket of the state, we need to look closely at our shipping industry and find innovative ways to make it work for everyone,” said Rep. Mele Carroll, who represents the people of Molokai and Lanai. “It is critical that we examine all possibilities including the feasibility of other modes of transportation and other means of shipping freights between islands including Oahu to Molokai and Lanai and back as well as to Maui inclusively.”