In Gov. Neil Abercrombie‘s first State of the State Address, he said he would no longer fund capital improvement projects for the 36-year-old Aloha Stadium, except for maintenance related to health and safety.

Part of his reasoning is that the Pro Bowl venue would take too long to refurbish.

“Other than maintenance related to health and safety, I will divert all other capital improvement dollars for Aloha Stadium to other projects,” Abercrombie said. “Right now, multimillion dollar plans to extend the life of Aloha Stadium by 20 years could take 40 years to implement. It is time to reprioritize.”

Was Abercrombie correct that improvements could take four decades?

“The plan was to extend the life of the stadium for 20 years by the previous administration,” said Bruce Coppa, the interim comptroller for the Department of Accounting and General Services. “And to do that, it was about $250 million plus.”

Coppa said to date, the stadium has spent about $71 million on the first phase of the project, repairing and refurbishing the roof.

But Coppa says former Gov. Linda Lingle‘s administration only appropriated the stadium $5 million or $6 million annually to make changes. “So based on that, if you stretch that over time, by the time you finish the job for extending it for 20 years, you’d be almost 40 years out.”

If there is still $179 million left of work to do, and the stadium is appropriated $5 million annually for the project, it would take close to 36 years to complete. Close enough.

Of course, the reason it “could” take 40 years to complete the repairs is because politicians haven’t shown a desire to appropriate enough money to get the work done more quickly. It’s a question of priorities.

“It didn’t seem like there was a commitment to move it on, get this thing done,” Coppa said. He told Civil Beat $50 million to $75 million, possibly as much as $100 million, would still have to be invested in the stadium to cover health and safety costs.

Chair of the Stadium Authority Board, Kevin Chong Kee, told Civil Beat the speed of the repair work had to be adjusted around appropriations. “What we got was way less than what was required,” Chong Kee said. “Because of the way the funding is spread apart, it will take you a lot longer to get the work done.”