Saturday, March 6, 2010

All Along The Watchtower

It's been extra windy the past two days. And the wind begins to howl Mary. Jimmy Hendrix. Actually, Dylan wrote the lyrics and recorded the song himself, but Hendrix took it to a new level. At any rate, our windy days have been a fitting inauguration of the parking fees that the state started imposing yesterday on visitors (non-residents) taking in the view at the Pali Lookout. The Pali Lookout is famous for it's severe winds (see photo). The scenic view from the Pali (cliffs) is secondary. The state is so hard up for cash, that they'll tax anything that moves. 900,000 people visit the Pali Lookout per year. Some jump off the edge. Now, if you jump, you pay a tax in addition to the parking fees. If you decide to fly a kite, another surcharge.

The parking fee at the Pali Lookout will be wavered for locals. Only non-residents will be assessed the toll. This disparity has generated a fair amount of controversy. Again, the state is desperately in need of new means of revenue. Lyrics from tonight's theme song ....“There must be some kind of way out of here [recession], Said the joker to the thief [state].” More than a few have professed that the Pali fee is sending the wrong type of message to Hawaii's bread and butter visitors. For the same price of a 4-day stay in Hawaii nei, the same visitors could just as well spend a week aboard a cruise ship visiting Mexico, meals included. Meanwhile, if the driver of the car at the Pali happens to be local, the parking fee is wavered, irregardless of the occupants. Other than that, the Pali has now been officially designated a pay-per-view venue in perpetuity. That might be to the chagrin of an out-of-state visitor who happened to have been born and raised in Hawaii now living in another state, and can't present a Hawaii state picture ID to the gate keeper. There are fees to enter Diamond Head crater ($5 per vehicle or $1 per walk-in visitor), but not all of the monies goes to the upkeep of the Diamond Head Park itself. Of the $700,000 in fees collected in 2009 at Diamond Head, only $300,000 went to the park. That's less than 50 percent. Visitors already pay a compulsory 8.25 percent hotel room tax levied to undo their footprints on the aina dubbed the Transient Accommodation Tax. "Transient accommodation?" Also, at the Pali Lookout, generally people just park, peer over the railing, take picture and drive off to other points in their itinerary. No more than 20-minutes which would seem to be a perk inclusive in the overall transient accommodation package.


Rowena said...

By any chance would you know how much (the fee) is? 900,000 peeps on da Pali would make even make Scrooge McDuck want to fly.

RONW said...


"The $3 fee went into effect yesterday (Friday), and an attendant was posted to guide visitors to a machine where they could pay the fee by cash or credit card." [Honolulu Star-Bulletin]


I think it's more the idea of a fee than the amount.

OkiHwn said...

What is "a Hawaii state picture ID" mean? Diver's license? Or you gotta get a State ID card?

RONW said...

Nate- I guess they meant state drivers license, more than state ID, since the fee is determined on the driver of the vehicle. The same thing you would show for kamaiana rates.

OkiHwn said...

I can easily see parking booths being set up at the entrances to the Magic Island parking lot. Or maybe to the whole Ala Moana Park at esch end.

RONW said...

Nate- don't be giving them ideas.