Recently the Department of Transportation of Maui County obtained six new hybrid electric buses. This is a tremendous addition to the fleet of The Maui Bus.

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It reduces noise, carbon emissions and reduces energy consumption. These energy efficient vehicles are low-floor ADA compliant, another beneficial step for our physically challenged residents. These hybrid buses include a diesel engine along with a generator and electric motor, plus have rooftop batteries for storing energy.

A crucial characteristic of a successful public servant is one who sees items, services or programs that either need to be implemented or improvements made.

Many years ago at a forum in Kihei, in the days when the Maui County Council races were still partisan, my two opponents were both adamant that Maui did not need a public transportation or bus system. They both claimed that residents would not abandon their cars and use a bus.

I disagreed and passionately proposed that Maui needed to begin a bus system for numerous reasons. Some residents could not afford the cost of keeping a car, seniors and young people may not be able to drive and for numerous other reasons it would be a program long overdue. A few years later The Maui Bus started and a couple of years ago, prior to the pandemic, there were over two and a half million individual rides. The Maui Bus still needs lots of expansion of routes, hours, and making it much more convenient to more residents and visitors.

Maui County voters have serious issues to consider. They need a representative who has a long history of service to the area. Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2022

Ten years ago when my friend, former Maui Council member Jo Anne Johnson was the head of the Department of Transportation, I spoke with her a few times suggesting that the county needed to purchase renewable energy buses to replace our current fleet of polluting buses. It has taken too many years, yet while new technologies are created and environmentally friendly buses are developed, we can look forward to obtaining many more of these new vehicles.

On numerous issues, including campaigning and testifying for local control of our public water systems, now we have a chance to approve this very same item by supporting the charter amendment of creating a local water commission.

When residents fill out their ballots, vote and support someone who has been active for decades in improving our lives on Maui.

Currently I am seeking the Hawaii State House of Representatives seat for the 13th district in our state Legislature, the only one which is composed of four separate islands: covering Kahoolawe, Molokini, Molokai, Lanai and the North Shore/East Maui communities from Spreckelsville, Paia, Haiku, Huelo, Hana to Kaupo.

For over 30 years I have been active on Maui, serving on various Maui county boards and commissions, and for a couple of years I was a volunteer mediator with the Small Claims Division of the District Court.

For nine years I was the producer and host of Maui Talks-TV. I am also a former teacher in both the public schools and was the mathematics teacher/academic instructor at the Maui site of Hawaii Job Corps.

The quality of life is the significant issue facing these mostly rural regions of Maui County. Each island is distinct, and what impacts Molokai, with its unique challenges, is not the same as what impacts Lanai. The North Shore of Maui is different than East Maui, where after a hundreds of years of theft, the concerted effort of many of us has finally resulted in water being reintroduced into some of our streams.

There is no turning back the progressive movement and changes occurring in Maui County. We need to embrace the indigenous culture and everything it teaches. We must provide for all of our residents; for the kupuna, for our keiki, for their keiki and all who will follow. We must defend, provide for and support all that these truly amazing communities have to offer us in Maui County.

I am educated, active, informed and passionate about Maui County. I’ve been around the world, visiting over 50 countries on five continents plus all 50 states. You may check me out on social media including my website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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About the Author

  • Nick Nikhilananda
    Nick Nikhilananda is seeking the Hawaii State House of Representatives seat for the 13th district. He has been a community activists for 30 years on Maui. He has a master’s degree in public law/urban affairs, is a former teacher, served on Maui County commissions and boards, spent two years as a volunteer mediator in the small claims division of the District Court. He lives in Huelo on the North Shore of Maui.