Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 648

       S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 648 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


     (1)  Specify that a government agency does not assume ownership or jurisdiction over a disputed road solely through maintenance or repair activities; and


     (2)  Authorize the State to transfer ownership of roads in favor of counties by quitclaim if requested by the county.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from one individual.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources and one individual.


     Your Committee finds that there are roads in Hawaii whose ownership or jurisdiction is disputed between the State and counties.  Your Committee further finds that the safety of persons traveling over these so called "roads in limbo" is affected by the lack of maintenance to these roads.  Your Committee also finds that neither state nor county agencies are willing to maintain these roads because the maintenance activities may be construed as assuming ownership and jurisdiction over the disputed roads.  This measure allows the state or county to maintain roads without taking on ownership responsibility.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Clarifying that whenever ownership of a public street, road, or highway remains in dispute between the State and the county, any action by a government agency to maintain or repair a public street, road, or highway shall not be used to establish the agency's ownership of, or jurisdiction over, the public street, road, or highway;


     (2)  Specifying that the definition of "disputed public street, road, or highway" means any highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trial that is open to the public for which there is a dispute over ownership and jurisdiction, as determined by the department of transportation, between the State or any of its political subdivisions and a county or a private party or between a county and a private party; and


     (3)  Inserting an effective date of January 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 648, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 648, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs,