Honolulu Gridlock Gains Ranking; Hawaii Paid $39.7 Mln in Airline Fees; Jack Lewin Considered for AMA Post

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A 3.9-mile portion of the Lunalilo Freeway in Honolulu ranks as the 26th-most congested corridor in the nation, according to a study by Inrix Inc., a provider of traffic data.


The firm identified the east-bound segment between the Middle Street merge and Ward Avenue as having poor travel times during the evening rush hour. It said the corridor takes 5 minutes to drive in good traffic but 16 minutes in highly congested traffic.

Inrix found that traffic increased last year for the 100 metropolitan areas it studied.

“America is now back on the road to gridlock with a vengeance,” the report said.

Honolulu continued to rank higher than its population would suggest. Hawaii’s capitol city had the 55th-largest population of the metropolitan areas in the study, yet ranked 37th in congestion.

The study noted that Hawaii’s travel time tax index – a measure of traffic congestion – was at the heart of the high ranking. It measures the extra time needed during rush hour compared to travel times when there is no traffic.

Hawaii’s travel time index was the second highest in the nation at almost 33 percent.

Los Angeles was identified as having the worst congestion in the nation, followed by New York.

Hawaii Consumers Paid Millions in Airlines Fees Last Year

Hawaii consumers paid $39.7 million in baggage and other service fees to airlines last year, according to a report from the Consumer Travel Alliance, a group that says it promotes consumer interest in travel policy issues.

On average the group said passengers paid a total of $36.80 in fees for every round-trip ticket, or nearly $150 for a family of four.

“It’s Christmas every day for the airlines that are raking in billions of dollars in fees without having to adequately disclose information about them up front during the shopping process,” said Charlie Leocha, director of CTA.  “Competition is crippled for the millions of business and leisure passengers who are surprised by these fees – often at the airport.

The study was based on airline earnings releases and data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Jack Lewin

Former Hawaii Health Director Candidate for AMA Top Spot

Jack Lewin, former head of the Hawaii Department of Health, has emerged as one of three people who have emerged as contenders for the American Medical Association’s chief executive position.

Kaiser Health News, in conjunction with Politico, identified Lewin, currently CEO of  the American College of Cardiology,

Reed Tuckson, executive vice president and chief of medical affairs at UnitedHealth Group, and Nancy Dickey, president of Texas A&M’s Health Science Center, as leading candidates to take over the top AMA spot.

AMA’s current chief executive will leave the group in June and hired an executive search firm to help in hunting for a successor.

Lewin, a former Maui physician, served as Hawaii’s health director between 1986 and 1994. He subsequently joined the California Medical Association as its CEO before accepting a position with the American College of Cardiology.

Hawaii to get $1.43 million to catalogue Pacific Rim Plants

The state will receive $1.43 million to create a catalogue and standardized checklist of Pacific Rim plants to help in the work of research biologists and land use planners.

U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka said the funding will come from National Science Foundation. The money will be used to create the Consortium of Pacific Herbaria, collaboration between Bishop Museum, National Tropical Botanical Garden, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and herbaria in Hawaii, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, Palau, Guam, and Fiji.

“Plants provide much more than aesthetic appeal.  They can help us understand more about the makeup of our ecosystems, the evolution of our species and lead to important advances in medicine and science,” said Inouye in a statement issued by his office.

The major goals of the CPH include curating and digitally imaging nearly one million dried plant specimens from Polynesia, Micronesia and Fiji, creating a standardized plant checklist, and making collections data and digital images available online through a single portal.