Will Aloha Stadium redevelopment be our next white elephant?

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Hawaii’s record with major public facility projects is so poor it’s a wonder lawmakers have allowed this idea to get as far as it has

Hawaii’s policymaking elites and their construction industry buddies are getting all excited about moving forward on redevelopment of the old Aloha Stadium.

Grandiose plans involving multiple possible uses coupled with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to help get the project rolling have drawn oodles of media attention, even as past efforts to build major government projects on budget and on time have failed miserably.

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As reporter Andrew Gomes wrote recently in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “Hawaii is littered with big public-facility development projects that have taken exorbitant stretches of time to produce compared with [their original] plans.”

That, of course, means they cost a whole lot more too, and it’s debatable whether any of them were truly successful when finally completed.

“To mention a few,” Gomes stated:

>> “It took over a decade to develop the Hawai‘i Convention Center.”

>> “An initial segment of Honolulu’s rail system was supposed to be running in 2018.”

>> “The H-3 freeway opened in 1997 after 34 years of work.”

>> “Around Honolulu Harbor’s Aloha Tower landmark, there has yet to materialize a mix of residential towers, hotel rooms and offices anchored by a retail center that opened in 1994 despite planning that began in 1981.”

Now we’re all supposed to fall for the idea that rebuilding the Aloha Stadium, itself a white elephant, is going to turn out wonderful — someday, whenever that might be, and at whatever cost. Well, maybe for some people.

Speaking of the Aloha Tower Marketplace, “OahuJoe,” aka Joe Kent of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, posted a 16-second video on TikTok about the project that has been viewed more than 10,000 times since early October. You can see the video here.

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