Funding for West Maui projects secured in House version of the state budget
LAHAINA – West and South Maui Rep. Angus L.K. McKelvey last week announced that he has secured critical infrastructure funding for the Tenth District, including funds for the emergency dredging of Lahaina Harbor, construction of the next stage of the Lahaina Bypass and various harbor and school projects.
He said the funds were budgeted with the support of Maui lawmakers and other members of the House.
“It is critical that funding for these essential West Maui projects be secured in the House version of the budget, because the power of the pure resides with the House,” McKelvey said.
“This helps to position them for the final negotiations on the budget during the conference period between the two chambers in April.”
The House version of the state budget, HB 500 HD1, contains $2.25 million to fund the emergency dredging of the Lahaina Harbor entrance channel.
“This funding is critical because of the now shallow depth of the entrance channel of the harbor that, if not remediated through emergency dredging, could force the closure the harbor. Given the critical role our harbor plays both to residents and the visitor industry, this was a number one priority this session,” McKelvey said, adding that failure to fund the dredging could also jeopardize numerous jobs.
Approximately $8.5 million in matching state funds were secured for construction of the next stage of the Lahaina Bypass from the Puamana area at Hokiokio Road to Olowalu near Cut Mountain by the county landfill.
“The federal government has accepted the proposed ‘Red Line’ alternative, which gives us the most highway for the bypass and helps the county in their efforts to convert the existing stretch of the Honoapiilani Highway from Cut Mountain to Puamana into a scenic coastal road,” McKelvey explained.
“That will provide access to the area which is slated to become a park because of the county’s recent purchase of the land in the area, as well as biking and walking opportunities for the park area as well.”
HB 500 HD1 also includes funding for West Maui schools and additional support for improvements for Lahaina Harbor and Maalaea Harbor in lump sum allocations in the budget.
“Lump sum funding is an allocation of monies that is appropriated to an agency for a wide variety of projects across Maui and the state,” McKelvey explained. “Unlike past legislatures, where the exact allocation of lump sum funding was done internally within the various agencies, we had the departments submit a complete breakout of the various projects to be funded thorough the lump sum, so we can ensure greater transparency and equity to all our communities, especially West Maui.”
School projects funded through the lump sum include $105,000 for reroofing at King Kamehameha III Elementary School, repairing the kitchen floors and repainting and renovating various buildings on the historic campus; $300,000 for major reroofing at Lahaina Intermediate School; $488,000 for renovations to bathrooms and reroofing at Lahainaluna High School, as well as other backlogged repairs; and funds to replace the playfield sidewalk at Princess Nahienaena Elementary School.
McKelvey said that the lump sum for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Small Boating Division contains $250,000 to install new fenders and bull rails along the front row of Lahaina Harbor.
The budget totals $13.3 billion for the entire state over the next two years, with $6.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2016 that begins on July 1, 2015, and $6.8 billion for FY2017.
The operating budget portion of HB 500, HD1 includes $3.8 million for public school teacher recruitment and retention in hard-to-fill locations; $11.55 million for charter school per pupil funding; $7.7 million to maintain existing ambulance service levels; $3 million for the state hospital system to address existing financial issues; $72.1 million for special maintenance projects at Hawaii airports, including Kahului Airport; and $70.9 million for highway road repair and maintenance projects, including critical repair and maintenance work on Honoapiilani Highway.
In addition to the West Maui projects, the Capital Improvement Project?budget includes $50 million to the Rental Housing Trust Fund to help finance new affordable rental housing units statewide; $32 million for facility repairs and maintenance, upgrades and improvements at Hawaii Health System Corp. hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center; and $21 million for Kahului Harbor improvements.
“While these projects are not on the West Side, the improvements and renovations for Kahului Harbor, Kahului Airport and Maui Memorial will serve our residents by continuing to ensure we have the transportation and healthcare facilities we need for all of our communities, including West Maui and Maalaea,” McKelvey concluded.