House: $141M for Kauai

LIHUE — Kauai could see a little more than $141 million in Capitol Improvement Project money if the Hawaii House of Representatives’ proposed state budget cruises through the Senate and the rest of the legislative process.

The proposed budget is designated for the fiscal biennium beginning July 1 and running through June 2017, and has been approved by the House. It’s headed to the Senate floor.

Rep. Derek Kawakami, D-Kapaa, said the $141.4 million in projects will provide jobs for families, improvements to schools and infrastructure, and investments in agriculture.

“As the budget continues to move forward, we will be watching and advocating for all these projects and more,” Kawakami said Friday.

The proposed budget appropriates $50 million for various rehabilitation and replacement projects on Kuhio Highway, $4.7 million for Kaumualii Highway improvements, and $4.3 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways.

It also appropriates $31 million for improvements at Lihue Airport and the restoration of the Ahukini landfill. For bus shelter construction, $1.5 million was appropriated last year, and it’s on the list again this year.

“We welcome any and all funds that will go toward improving services and facilities here on Kauai,” Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. “We are ready to begin much-needed improvements to the Kauai Veterans Cemetery, which was a project requested by the county.”

Kauai Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura and chairwoman of the transportation committee said she commends the inter-governmental teamwork that line item shows.

“I am deeply grateful to Kauai’s legislative team; the $1.5 million will help to build a portion of the 49 top priority bus shelters that the county’s transportation agency has prioritized by use and feasibility,” Yukimura said. “They will be built around the island in every town and will provide seats and shelter from rain and sun, making our bus system more user-friendly.”

Included in the proposed budget is also $21 million for the Kauai Community Correctional Center for a new security system and the construction of new housing and support offices.

Around $7.2 million is set aside in the proposed budget for Kauai’s schools, including $2.5 million for photovoltaic power at Kauai Community College, $2.8 million for an outdoor play court at Waimea Canyon Middle School, and $1 million for Kapaa High School infrastructure upgrades.

Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki said, “We’re very thankful for our state legislature for supporting the needs of our schools, supporting (construction), and those kinds of appropriations help get those projects done.”

Kawakami said he was pleased with the money that could potentially be appropriated to schools as well.

”Informational technology upgrades to Kapaa High School and Kapaa Elementary will ensure that our students have the tools that they need to be the next generation of dreamers, innovators and entrepreneurs,” Kawakami said.

Rep. Dee Morkiawa, D-Waimea, said funding for heat abatement in the schools in her district was an important project.

She also said she focused on more funding for the Veterans’ Cemetery so the renovation cam be completed, money for the Menehune ditch repair to put an end to the erosion on the road, and the covered play court at Waimea Canyon Middle School.

“Every year it’s harder to obtain funding for our island; however, working with my fellow colleagues, projects that are important for Kauai get funded,” Morikawa said. “The House version of the budget now sits in the Senate, but we hope that these projects will remain.”

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