HONOLULU– The Senate unanimously passed The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 2012) today. The bill will go to the House next for consideration.
Garnering bipartisan support, Senate Bill 2012, is an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package aimed at creating jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the state.
“We are proud of this legislation, which has united all members of the Senate,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui. “This bill will get our economic engine going and create much-needed jobs that will get thousands of people off the bench and back to work.”
With Hawaii experiencing the lowest interest rates on record and significant savings made from the State’s most recent bond authorization and issuance, now is the time to invest in our State. The program will appropriate funds for shovel-ready projects that will create jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants. According to conservative estimates by the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s (DBEDT) job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.
“Over 50 percent of Maui’s unionized carpenters are on the bench and yet there is plenty of work just no funding. Senate Bill 2012 provides that funding. Indeed, this measure provides much needed funds for infrastructure improvements for our schools, UH-Maui College and all the UH system, our hospitals like Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula, and DLNR projects. It’s a win-win. Our government buildings need repair; our construction workers need and want jobs,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui.
Projects under consideration will focus on repair and maintenance needs to address aging infrastructure concerns and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities. It will also include those that address health and safety code concerns.
A portion of Governor Abercrombie’s $300 million request for construction projects that are shovel-ready or address repair and maintenance concerns are funded by the measure.
The State departments currently identified to receive funding as part of the measure are: the Department of Education, including the State Public Library System; the University of Hawaii, including athletic facilities; the Department of Accounting and General Services; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Defense; the Department of Health, and health care facilities of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, the Department of Human Services; the Department of Land and Natural Resources; the Department of Public Safety and the Judiciary. Funding will be allocated depending on each department’s needs and ability to commence work immediately.
“Another priority of the bill is to develop sustainable and renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology,” said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe. “On Maui, we have the first large-scale commercial solar project in the State of Hawaii installed at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. It is an example of how renewable energy will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint.”
In order to expedite the backlog of repair and maintenance projects, Senate Bill 2012 makes revisions to the State’s permitting, approval and procurement processes. As a result, the accelerated processes will expedite the creation of jobs and facilitate the return to work for many of our residents.
If the measure passes the House and the Governor approves the bill, projects could begin immediately.
For more information on the bill: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/