Case asks for funds to replace Kapahi Bridge

U.S. Rep. Ed Case, D-rural O‘ahu-Neighbor Islands, is asking Congress for $600,000 to replace the Kapahi Bridge in Kapa‘a, and to stabilize the banks of a road by a federal wildlife refuge in Hanalei Valley.

If the funding is approved by Congress, the projects would help to promote continuous, safe traffic flow through parts of the Kawaihau District, the island’s largest population area, and Hanalei.

The $600,000 funding request is part of a House of Representative fiscal year 2004 transportation-treasury-postal appropriation bill, and is headed for a full House vote next month, according to aides to Case.

Tim Carson, a legislative aide for Case in Washington D.C., said Congress will review the funding request when it reconvenes in September.

Carson said the congressman had initially asked for more than the $500,000 for the bridge replacement.

The $500,000 would be the federal government’s share for the project, Carson said. The county is supposed to kick in its share for the project, estimated to be undertaken at a cost of $1.2 million, Carson said.

The proposed Hanalei project calls for $100,000 to shore up the banks of Ohiki Road by a 917-acre wildlife refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Carson said.

The refuge is home to the endangered Hawaiian stilt, the Hawaiian coot, the Hawaiian duck, the Hawaiian moorhen, all water birds, and the Nene, a goose.

The banks of Ohiki Road have become eroded due to time and weather, and they require strengthening for safety reasons. The road serves several households by the refuge.

“It is up to the (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife (Service) on how they plan to use the $100,000, for engineering plans and actual work,” Carson said.

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