HONOLULU (KHON2) — What does the future of Aloha Stadium look like?
That’s the question many are still trying to figure out after Governor David Ige announced a sudden change in direction last month.
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Now, state lawmakers are questioning the move as the timeline drags on. With 47 days left in his term, there’s still no word yet from Gov. Ige on when his plan will be revealed. The last time he spoke about it on the record publicly was at a press conference last week.
“We will proceed as provided by law and the appropriation there is no appropriation to support a P3 at Aloha Stadium,” Gov. Ige said at the time. “I definitely believe in following the law and will be implementing to the best way forward.”
But the legality of this new direction is now under scrutiny. A senate bill that went into law in July reorganized the Stadium Authority to another department, from accounting and general services (DAGS) to business, economic development, and tourism.
The bill said it makes the head of DBEDT, now Mike McCartney, a voting member of the Stadium Authority. Senate ways & means committee chair Donovan Dela Cruz said complete control was never intended.
“Clearly an overextension of what the law allows,” Sen. Dela Cruz said. “That doesn’t necessarily defer all decision-making to the DBEDT director and the DBEDT director does not do that now for any of the other attached agencies.”
Years of work on a thousand-page request for proposals was ready to go out to developers until Gov. Ige stopped the project in its tracks last month.
Sen. Dela Cruz said the legislature could investigate.
“There’s no way legally they would be able to just issue a new RFP overnight without going through all the process that DAGS has already done. What’s peculiar is the governor has said many times that he wants to follow a process. He wants to make sure it’s transparent, that everything is being communicated. No Hanky Panky, if you will. And unfortunately, in this situation, it seems quite the opposite,” said Dela Cruz.
KHON2 reached out to Gov. Ige and McCartney, but they were not available for comment.
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Amid speculation that construction of the stadium could fall under the University of Hawaii, the board of regents is set to discuss a stadium update in a meeting Thursday at 9:30 am.