In, The green behind the greenery, today's Maui News reports that "State officials estimate it could cost nearly $1 million a year to maintain the native plant landscaping along the newly widened Mokulele Highway."
The article further reported that,
Bermuda grass, the common grass used along most state highways, is a perennial grass that can be grown by seed and also is commonly used on playing fields. The akiaki grass, or Sporobolus virginicus, is a native perennial grass. As a cost comparison . . . the akiaki grass along Mokulele costs about $57,700 per acre, while the traditional Bermuda grass costs could range from $21,900 to $35,500 an acre.Most residential and commercial projects are not responsible for maintaining 6.5 miles of native grasses, shrubs and trees like with the Mokulele Highway project; however, at twice the cost of traditional landscaping species, a requirement that a landowner use specific species of plants for landscaping becomes a weighty factor.
Time will tell if the upfront acquisition and maintenance costs for native plants will be off-set by lower maintenance costs in the long run, as most advocates believe.