Kauai legislators seek $167M

HONOLULU — Kauai legislators are seeking $167.5 million in Capital Improvement Project funds.

From making improvements to Waimea Park and renovating locker rooms at Kauai High School to road repair projects. There are almost 20 Kauai projects included in the proposed CIP budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, according to a release from the Legislature.

“Given the fact revenues haven’t been as strong has we hoped it would be, the amount that was put in for Kauai is very, very impressive,” said Rep. Jimmy Tokioka (D-15, Wailua, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Koloa, Omao) “It’s a great place to start.”

It’s a sentiment Rep. Dee Morikawa, (D-16, Niihau, Koloa, Waimea) echoes.

“I’m pleased with this House proposed CIP budget. This is a reflection of how hard your Kauai delegation works to get Kauai projects funded,” she said. “These projects will still need to be approved by the Senate, and we need to be cautious, because a lot can happen before the end of the session.”

The two largest chunks of Kauai’s CIP budget would go to transportation projects.

Just over $67 million is slated for rehabilitation and replacement projects on Kuhio Highway.

“If you look at how much money the highway tax fund collects every year, we generate $5 to $6 million from the fuel tax. And vehicle registration and highway tax comes in at $8 to $10 million,” Tokioka said. “The money we’re getting, it way exceeds amount of money we bring in.”

Projects include fixing up the areas around Hanalei, Kapaia Stream, Kapaa Stream, Wailua, Waioli, Waipa, Waikoko and Wainiha bridges.

For example, the steel trusses on the Hanalei Bridge are deteriorating and need to be replaced. The bridge also needs to be painted and cleaned. Additionally, officials want to improve pedestrian safety around Kapaa Stream Bridge by making improvements to the intersection of Kuhio Highway, according to HB 100, the measure that appropriates funds for the operating and CIP budget for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019.

Two additional projects — adding a southbound lane on the Kapaa Bypass Road between Kuhio Highway and the roundabout and adding a southbound lane between Wailua River and Hanamaulu — will also help mitigate traffic, but they cannot move forward unless the Legislature identifies sources of funding, said Nadine Nakamura, (D-14 Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaa and Wailua Houselots).

Another large amount of the proposed CIP budget is slated to restore the Ahukini Landfill and make improvements to the ticket lobby and hold room of the Lihue Airport.

Over $42 million is allocated for those projects, according to the release.

When it comes to schools, $2.4 million will be allocated to Kauai Community College for improvements to the cafeteria and theater building.

Other projects funded by the CIP budget include improvements to Waimea Park, a shooting range and renovating the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital.

Waimea Park renovations include the design and construction of a backstop, dugout, grandstand and field, for $1 million.

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