February 13th, 2013

The state Senate Economic Development, Government Operations and Housing Committee on Wednesday voted to advance a bill that would create a new Public-Private Partnership Authority.

The authority — a similar concept to the Public Land Development Corp. — would work with other state agencies and the private sector on development projects. The new authority, unlike the PLDC, would not have broad exemptions from land use regulations.

The new authority would first do a main street redevelopment project in Wahiawa and a film production studio on Maui as pilot projects.

The bill would also preserve the stadium authority special fund, a potential resource for redeveloping the parking lot at Aloha Stadium. The special fund is in danger if lawmakers repeal the PLDC because the fund was folded into the PLDC law.

“Hopefully, this helps us in the long run,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, the committee’s chairman, who was also behind the PLDC.

The committee voted 3 to 2 to move the bill. Sen. Laura Thielen, a PLDC critic, voted against the bill, as did Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, who routinely votes against legislation that contains special funds.

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