LIHUE — Sen. Brian Schatz has a list of items he wants to help fund on the Garden Isle.
“I have a lot of things I want to accomplish on the behalf of Kauai,” he said. “My first obligation is to make sure federal funds flow.”
Schatz sat down with TGI after a town hall meeting Friday. He said he’s making sure there’s enough money for infrastructure, health, housing, clean housing and defense.
“In the last couple appropriations process, we’ve done really well,” he said.
Schatz, 44, serves on the appropriations committee. He serves on the labor, health and human services, transportation, housing and early development, commerce justice and science subcommittees.
“I consider that to be my core responsibility,” Schatz said. “We still need to take care of each other in the short run. I maintain vigilance everyday to try to watch those line items to make sure we get the appropriations we need.”
On Kauai, Schatz was instrumental in helping the county obtain the $13.8 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER grant.
That money is going toward revitalizing the Lihue Town Core by condensing the four-lane traffic into three lanes, creating bicycle lanes on Rice and Hoolako streets and creating 90 new parking spaces.
“I wanted to make sure federal funds reached Kauai,” he said. “The mayor put together a diverse and incredibly talented team, and I did whatever I could to make sure they won the award in an extremely competitive process.”
Schatz said he’s also particularly proud of maintaining funding for the Pacific Missile Range Facility.
“PMRF continues to get more investments, and there’s great improvement and stability dollars that are coming in, which enhance PMRF as an asset,” he said.
Alleviating traffic is high on the senator’s list of priorities.
“I know that folks on Kauai experience a lot of traffic. We just want to make sure as federal funds flow to Hawaii, they’re equally distributed because we don’t want to have a situation where Oahu eats first.”