HONOLULU (KHON2) — Security cameras at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) parking garage were broken for several years before they were finally fixed. This is what the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) told state lawmakers who now want to make sure repairs are done faster.

KHON2 brought up the problem with broken security cameras at the airport back in November 2021 after traveler Michael Phears had his catalytic converter stolen while his car was parked in the garage. He said it was disappointing that the state would let the problem last for so long.

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“The public is stuck using this old building without any working security cameras and getting their cars vandalized. It’s just gross incompetence or negligence in my opinion.”

Michael Phears, a traveler whose catalytic converter was stolen in the HNL Parking garage

“It’s frustrating when clearly the state has made an investment on something and for whatever reason it breaks and ultimately goes unfixed,” said Sen. Chris Lee, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

It is not clear when the cameras were fixed and why it took so long. An HDOT spokesman said only some of the cameras were broken but would not say how many. He sent a statement that said, “All cameras at HNL are operable, and we have an aggressive maintenance program in place to fix any that may go down.”

State lawmakers said they have received many complaints from travelers about security cameras, as well as about how the airport is outdated and not very functional compared to other airports.

“Check-in areas, security areas, baggage areas, all the places where people feel stressed and it’s hectic and it’s not clear how to get around and all the other issues that folks feel when they visit the airport,” said Lee.

Lee pointed out that the state will get about $250 million from the federal government in the next five years to update the airports. He said the money creates an opportunity for the state to prioritize the upgrades that the travelers want to see. So, lawmakers will be working with HDOT to use the money wisely.

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“To really fundamentally change Honolulu International and make it something that we can all be proud of, rather than something that tends to be a bit of a headache and an eyesore for anyone who has ever used it,” continued Lee.