LIHUE — The state Legislature Wednesday funneled $125 million for road, bridge and other infrastructure repairs for the stricken communities in the wake of devastating flooding on Kauai.
“Kauai residents need our help immediately,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. “The rains and flooding have decimated roads, bridges, power lines and other infrastructure. With the ground soaked and more rain predicted, we cannot wait to act. We need to move quickly on funding repairs and give those in need some hope for the future.”
Contained in Senate Bill 192, $100 million of the money is in general funds to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people, and provide relief from disaster damages, losses and suffering.
“This tragedy is very personal for me because I have many friends and family in the flooded areas, and critical because I represent these communities in the Legislature,” said Rep. Nadine Nakamura. “I want to thank Speaker Saiki, President Kouchi, Chairs Luke and Dela Cruz and all my colleagues in the Legislature for their compassion and quick action to make this relief funding happen.”
The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees also provided $25 million for flood-related repairs statewide.
“Many of us have spent the last few days witnessing the utter devastation that has once again struck our family and friends on the island of Kauai,” said Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.
He continued: “Rather than sit and wait, it’s clear that the Legislature must commit our efforts to the rebuilding process for those impacted by the floods in these final days of session. In this joint effort by both chambers, we wish to offer our kokua through the adoption of this conference draft for Senate Bill 192.”
Because of the desperate circumstances, this Senate bill was selected as the best way to quickly authorize this emergency funding.
“We all know when it is important to take action quickly, and clearly this is one of those times,” said Finance Committee Chair Representative Sylvia Luke. “While State and Counties officials work to get a complete assessment of the damages, we know it is important to supply this immediate infusion of cash support to the people of Kauai in their time of need.”
The funds will be allotted to the state Department of Defense for disaster relief this fiscal year for the repairs and will lapse at the end of the next fiscal year.