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Sen. Maile Shimabukuro: Abandoned cars on Oahu is an "epidemic"

It's a sight seen across the islands.

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Brenton Awa
HONOLULU, HI — It's a sight seen across the islands.

"It has just gotten to the point where it's really an epidemic," Sen. Maile Shimabukuro said.

Getting rid of abandoned cars costs money.

"It comes out of city funds and it's taxpayer money," Sheri Kajiwara, director of the City Dept. of Customer Services said.

The city's Director of Customer Services explained to state lawmakers several reasons why abandoned vehicles are becoming more commonly seen on Oahu and why a bill in it's current form would not work.

The city says along with stolen vehicles, more people are illegally dumping their cars because the price of metal has gone down.

"Many people took their cars to get them stripped in process because they got some residual value out of that. With the price of metal being so low now, it may cost you to take care of your car that way," Kajiwara said.

When it comes to removing these cars, the city is required to store the abandoned vehicles for at least 20 days in case their owners claim it.

The city must also dispose of the car via public auction.

Shimabukuro says disposal is a big problem and it has the city's abandoned vehicle storage area at max capacity, meaning no room to take any more cars off of the road.

"There's no one willing to take it anymore, they're all maxed out of space and the contractors can't find anyone else who wants to do this anymore," Shimabukuro said.

State lawmakers are now working with the city to change wording in their measure to try to solve this issue.

Some of the changes include eliminating the 20 day holding period so cars aren't stuck in storage.

They're also eliminating the requirement to dispose of abandoned vehicles via public auction.

Both could help these junks get off the street and moved to where they belong.

Lawmakers are also trying to make it easier to classify vehicles as "derelict" instead of abandoned.

That would eliminate having to store vehicles altogether.

Cars could then be moved from the sides of roads to the disposal site much quicker.

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