Hawaii State Budget Includes Over $331 Million for Capital Improvement Projects on the Big Island

Under the state budget passed by the Legislature, Big Island representatives secured more than $331 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the biennium of fiscal years 2018 and 2019 for various projects across Hawaii County. Hawaii lawmakers were also able to secure $5.4 million in Grants-In-Aid CIP for Big Island nonprofit organizations.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

  • $89 million for extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway
  • $54.7 million for Hawaii Belt Road improvements
  • $40 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements
  • $20.8 million for Mamalahoa Highway road and bridge improvements
  • $19.3 million for Hilo International Airport improvements
  • $14.8 million for Kona International Airport improvements
  • $13.2 million for Hawaii Community Correctional Center for medium security housing
  • $13 million to replace 4 mile Creek Bridge $8 million for Kawaihae Road improvements
  • $4.5 million for Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center Improvements
  • $4.4 million for Hilo High School track & field, auditorium and locker room improvements
  • $3.6 million for Kealakehe High School track, performing arts center and gym design and improvements
  • $3 million for air conditioning improvements at the University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • $3 million for Akoni Pule Highway realignment and widening
  • $2.5 million for Waiakeawaena Elementary School cafeteria and administrative buildings
  • $2.5 million for Keaukaha Military Reservation maintenance shop projects
  • $2 million for Hilo Medical Center Telehealth unit
  • $2 million for Hawaiian Home Lands lot development in Kaumana and Kau
  • $1.5 million for Honokaa High School for covered walkways
  • $1.2 million for Naalehu Elementary School covered walkways
  • $1.1 million for paving and drainage improvements at Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor
  • $1 million for Upolu Airport improvements
  • $1 million for Kohala High School gymnasium
  • $850,000 for West Hawaii Veteran’s Center plan, design and construction of a veteran’s center
  • $700,000 for Hawaii Community College trades and apprenticeship program and physics lab classroom
  • $700,000 for Kohala Middle School dual use play court/assembly area

In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-In-Aid were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Hawaii Island community:

  • $925,000 for West Hawaii Community Health Center to build a health care facility
  • $800,000 for Waimea Nui Community Development Corp. to build a community agricultural park
  • $800,000 for Hamakua Health Center to build a new health center
  • $698,000 for Island of Hawaii YMCA repairs to the Hilo YMCA
  • $605,000 for Pacific Well Drilling and Pump Services for equipment
  • $500,000 for Kailapa Community Association to build a resource center
  • $500,000 for Laiopua 2020 to build a community center
  • $200,000 for Hawaii Island Community Development Corp. to build a new adult day care center
  • $130,000 for Friends of Palace Theater air conditioning system
  • $100,000 for Aloha Performing Arts Company for Aloha Theatre renovations
  • $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii to build affordable housing for low-income families in West Hawaii
  • $91,000 for Arts & Sciences Center fire alarm system

Hawaii Senate Announces New Chairs and Reorganization – Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele New Majority Whip

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi announced several new committee chairs and an addition to Senate leadership as part of the Senate’s recent reorganization.

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele was named the new Majority Whip today.

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz will be the new Ways and Means committee chair with Senator Gil Keith-Agaran serving as the Ways and Means committee vice chair.

The current Senate committee on Judiciary and Labor will be divided into two committees with Senator Brian T. Taniguchi chairing the Judiciary committee and Senator Jill N. Tokuda chairing the Labor committee.

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele is the new Majority Whip.

These new positions are effective at the close of business on May 12, 2017.

Public Informational Meeting Scheduled for the Saddle Road Extension Project

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), Highways Division, invites the community to an informational meeting for the extension of the Western terminus of Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Route 200), formerly known as Saddle Road, to connect with the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) and Waikoloa Beach Drive.

The meeting is scheduled at the following time and location:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Waikoloa Village Elementary and Middle School
68-1730 Hooko Street
Waikoloa Village, HI 96738

The Federal Highways Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD) and HDOT are collaborating for a solution to extend D.K.I Highway in anticipation of the expected traffic growth in this area. Project information, display boards and proposed options of the extension will be presented at 6:30 p.m., following with a short presentation at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to ask questions and share their input with the staff available to determine the best solution for the community.

Purposes of the project include improving safety, providing a modern State Highway link connecting motorists traveling between Hilo and coastal South Kohala/Kona on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and improving general efficiency and operational level of traffic movement designed to save time.

For additional information on the project please click on the following link:

The meeting is accessible for individuals with disabilities. To request language interpretation, an auxiliary aid or special services (e.g., sign language interpreter and accessible parking), please contact Mr. Darrell Young prior to the meeting date.

Mr. Darrell Young
Project Manager
HDOT Highways Division, Planning Branch
869 Punchbowl Street, Room 301
Honolulu, HI 96813

Text telephone (TTY) users may use telecommunication relay service (TRS) to contact HDOT.

Persons unable or desiring not to appear at the public meeting may file a signed statement presenting their views on this project. Statements should be submitted up to and including June 7, 2017 and should be addressed to Darell Young.

EBT Cards to Experience Downtime Monday, May 15

Individuals and families using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards may experience downtime from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday, May 15, 2017. Consumers are asked to avoid making transactions during these morning hours. Consumers may resume regular use of their cards after 6 a.m. on Monday.

From May 12, 2017 through May 15, 2017, the Hawai‘i Department of Human Services (DHS) will be converting its Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system from the current vendor, JPMorgan Electronic Financial Services, to a new EBT vendor, Fidelity Information Services Government Solutions.

EBT cardholders experiencing issues beyond 6 a.m. on May 15, 2017 may call the same helpline as usual at 1-888-328-4292. Limited helpline service will be available to EBT cardholders during the downtime period.

Maintenance Work to Close Muliwai Trail, Waimanu Valley Campground

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will be conducting maintenance work on Muliwai trail and Waimanu campground between May 15-19. The campground and trail will be closed during this period.

This is part of DOFAW’s routine maintenance of this trail and campground, including maintaining proper function of the Clivus composting toilets, litter pick up, removing fallen trees, and clearing land slides and use of herbicide to control invasive plants. This trail and campground is closed and maintained about four times a year.

For more information on state forest hiking trails and wilderness campgrounds, go to the Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program website (https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/), or to the DOFAW Hilo and Waimea offices.  For more information call (808) 974-4221.

My Hawai‘i, 2017 Student Environmental Writing Contest Winners Announced

The 25 winners of the 11th annual My Hawai‘i Story Contest were announced today.

The theme of this year’s contest is, “He Wa’a, He Moku”- Mālama Honua, celebrating the return of Hokule’a to Hawai’i from the Worldwide Voyage.

  • Brooklyn Aipoalani, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Taylor Amalato, Kaimuki Christian School
  • Connor Arakaki, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Cameren Banis, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Grace Bostock, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Kylie Chock, Hawaii Baptist Academy
  • Jamie Cummings, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Roisin Darby, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Morgan Davis, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Ella Gibson, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Koa Higgins, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Jaeden Jimenez, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Gabriel Kalama, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Kamaha’o Liu, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Chase Kamikawa, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Lyla Kaneshiro, S. W. King Intermediate
  • Katherine Payne, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Wainohia Peloso, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Ella Prado, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Tory Refamonte, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Chloe Sylva, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Quincy Tamaribuchi, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School
  • Johnsen Uwekoolani, Kamehameha Schools Maui
  • ‘Ala’I Williams, Holy Nativity School
  • Noah Zitz, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

The winners will be presented with awards and prizes at the Hawai’i Conservation Conference on July 17, 2017 at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu.

Mahalo to all the participating students, schools, and teachers!