The Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu has had complaints about inadequate parking availability for years, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat. The lack of parking spaces has forced patients to park in far away places that are sometimes not even on the health center’s property. Some patients are disabled veterans.
Rep. Ed Case is bringing up the issue again as he renews calls for the Army to fix the issue. The Army has said it will address the issue in its military construction and veterans affairs funding bill.
In the past, Case’s office has noted that about 450,000 beneficiaries are eligible to receive care at the facility, which has a work force of about 4,000 troops and civilians. This means that it should have around 6,000 parking spaces but has only just over 3,700.
Military authorities have pointed to an overall lack of congressional funding, possible environmental issues and legal limitations for the lack of progress with the parking problem. A draft of the 2022 fiscal spending plan for military construction and veterans affairs included a $1.6 billion provision for improving any of the facilities including parking projects, but it was not stated whether the Tripler Army Medical Center would receive any of the financial support mentioned.
Thousands of patients and their visitors come to Tripler weekly, and it is ordinary to see people park on the grass or outside the gates. This lack of parking is especially tough for elderly veterans, wounded soldiers and those who have trouble walking without a helper or uphill.
Tripler is overseen by the Army but also has offices from other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regional office. It also includes the Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical center and the Hawaii State Office of Veterans Services. The VA recently said that it would start taking in patients at its new Windward VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, which would help reduce visits to Tripler.