HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.R. NO.

73

TWENTY-SIXTH LEGISLATURE, 2011

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 


HOUSE RESOLUTION

 

 

Requesting the convening of a working group to address the jurisdictional disputes between the state and the counties regarding ownership and responsibility for maintenance and improvement of roadways.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, the quality of roadway maintenance throughout the State has a direct impact on the safety of individuals operating motor vehicles; and

 

WHEREAS, there have been long standing jurisdictional disputes between the counties and the State regarding roadway ownership and responsibility for maintenance and improvement of roadways, and many citizens of this State, as a result, have experienced considerable frustration in obtaining necessary repairs and maintenance for public roads; and

 

WHEREAS, the origins of this problem apparently arose from the 1963 amendment to section 142-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, since redesignated as section 264-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, which created two categories of public highways State highways, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, and county highways which comprise all remaining highways; and

 

WHEREAS, the State claims that under this law all non-state roadways were transferred from the State to the various counties and are now the responsibility of the counties, while the counties maintain that a highway does not become a county highway unless it is accepted or adopted as such by the county council and therefore accepts no responsibility for roadways they have not accepted in this fashion; and

 

WHEREAS, this dispute over roadway jurisdiction has been a long standing one, with the State and county governments staunchly maintaining their respective positions and showing no interest in modifying them to facilitate a negotiated settlement of this issue; and

 

WHEREAS, the cost of improving and maintaining the roadways in question appears to be a significant impediment to the resolution of this problem, with the counties on the one hand not wanting to incur the expense of making the improvements necessary to bring the disputed roadways into conformity with county codes, especially without any financial assistance from the State, and the State on the other hand hoping to avoid considerable additional burden in personnel, equipment, and funds that the responsibility for these roads would entail; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2011, that a working group be convened by the Department of Transportation to address the jurisdictional disputes between the State and counties regarding ownership and responsibility for maintenance and improvement of disputed roadways; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this working group shall include but not be limited to:

 

(1) The Director of the State Department of Transportation or a designee of the Director with decision making authority;

 

(2) The Director of Public Works, or a designee of the Director with decision making authority, for the County of Maui;

 

(3) The Director of the Department of Transportation Services, or a designee of the Director with decision making authority, for the City and County of Honolulu;

 

(4) The Chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources or a designee of the Chair with decision making authority;

 

(5) The Chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission or a designee of the Chair with decision making authority;

 

(6) The State Attorney General or a designee of the Attorney General with decision making authority;

 

(7) The Corporation Counsel from the counties of Honolulu and Maui, or a designee from the respective Corporation Counsels with decision making authority;

 

(8) A professional impartial facilitator chosen by the Governor whose sole purpose is to ensure that the group reaches consensus;

 

and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group shall solicit input from all appropriate State and county departments and agencies, and that these aforementioned departments and agencies cooperate with the working group in its research; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group is requested to address, but not be limited by the following areas:

 

(1) The primary concern of funding;

 

(2) Agreement on how each roadway description shall be done;

 

(3) Agreement on what indicia of title, if any, will be used to indicate county ownership of the disputed roads;

 

(4) Determination of some type of temporary liability shield for the counties to allow the counties to bring disputed roads, if not up to county standard, then at least to a non-dangerous condition; and

 

(5) Development of a high level committee of officials from the offices of the Department of Transportation, Attorney General, County Corporation Council, County Attorney, Department of Land and Natural Resources and other State and county agencies responsible for public works for the purpose of:

 

(A) Developing a complete list of all public roads in the State;

(B) Categorizing all public roads and their ownership on a functional basis so that a fairer distribution or jurisdiction can be accomplished, identifying all specific roads in dispute; and

 

(C) Meeting on a regular basis and being responsible for implementing the acceptance of new roads by the county;

 

and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group report its findings and recommendations, along with suggested legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2012; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, the Director of Transportation, the Attorney General, the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, the Mayor of Maui County, the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and the Chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

State and County Roadway Jurisdictional Disputes; Working Group