HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $15.5 million for various capital improvement projects for Department of Transportation (DOT) highways and facilities.
“These funds will allow priority repair and maintenance projects to move forward, improve safety along our state highways, and in the process give a boost to our economy through job growth in construction,” Gov. Abercrombie said.
Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor. Maui County will see $3.9 million dollars to tackle two very large projects. Maui County projects are highlighted in bold type:
$3,800,000 – Kuamoo Road Slope Stabilization, Vicinity of Wailua State Park, Kauai – Design and construction funds for slope stabilization measures to mitigate rockfall incidents.
$2,340,000 – Miscellaneous Permanent Best Management Practices, Oahu – Additional construction funds to meet stormwater runoff permitting requirements as set forth by the state Department of Health (DOH) for various highway locations. These best management practices will allow DOT to address the DOH permit conditions and reduce erosion within the highways right-of-way and adjacent areas, as well as improving water quality in various watersheds.
$2,340,000 – Hana Highway Improvements, Phase 2A, Huelo to Hana, Maui – Additional design and construction funds for slope stabilization of the roadway embankment at Milepost 13, Special Management Area permit requirements, archaeological reports, mitigation via Historic American Buildings Survey documentation, and public informational meetings. This project will include road improvements and restoration to the 32-mile length of roadway, which is the only paved all-weather road to the Hana and Keanae communities. Existing drainage facilities will also be improved to decrease maintenance costs and will provide a safer roadway.
$2,000,000 – Slope Improvements for Erosion Control at Various Sites, Phase 6, Oahu – Construction funds for erosion control mitigation measures, including vegetative swales, filtering systems and detention ponds for DOT Highway facilities.
$1,650,000 – Haleakala Highway Intersection Improvements at Kula Highway, Maui – Design and construction funds to reduce traffic at the intersection by installing a right turn lane and upgrading the traffic signal system.
$410,000 – Pedestrian Countdown Timers, Phase II, Oahu – Construction funds for improvement of various pedestrian facilities to increase pedestrian safety and to comply with current design standards.
$400,000 – Kaumualii Highway, Intersection Improvements at Waimea Canyon Drive and Menehune Road/Halepule Road, Kauai – Design funds for the installation of new traffic signals, utility relocations and construction of auxiliary turning lanes and associated roadway improvements at both intersections.
$355,000 – Kamehameha Highway, Traffic Operational Improvements, Vicinity of Lumiaina Street, Oahu – Design and additional construction funds for improved traffic flow in the area by constructing an additional left-turn lane from Lumiaina Street onto Kamehameha Highway. The traffic signal system at the intersection will also be modified to accommodate the additional lane.
$250,000 – Waimea Baseyard Wastewater Systems, Hawaii Island – Additional design and construction funds for a new wastewater system to comply with DOH and Environmental Protection Agency requirements.
$160,000 – Kamehameha Highway, Rehabilitation of Waipilopilo Stream Bridge, Oahu – Land funds for three permanent easements and 10 temporary construction parcels near Hauula Beach Park for the bridge rehabilitation project. Built in 1932, the bridge does not meet current design standards, vehicular load requirements or seismic criteria. The scope of work includes widening the existing bridge, roadway improvements, utility relocation, upgrading bridge end posts, and guardrail connections and end treatments to meet the current design standards.
$157,000 – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and Motorcycle License Testing Facility, Oahu – Design funds for a new testing facility for CDL and motorcycle license. The current facility at Aloha Stadium will be displaced by the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit project.
$47,000 – Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Intersection Improvements at Kawaihae Road, Hawaii Island – Additional land and design funds to construct a new dedicated right turn lane, increase existing turn lane storage lengths, and install a new acceleration lane at the intersection. Unanticipated archaeological sites were encountered during the design of this project and an archaeological survey was required. Land funds are being used to acquire three zoned agricultural parcels from the Queen Emma Foundation for this project, required for the new highway.
$45,000 – Kalanianaole Highway Improvements, Vicinity of Hawaii Kai Drive to Keahole Street, Oahu – Additional construction funds to improve traffic flow at the intersection. Additional construction funds are needed due to delays and impact costs including additional excavation of soft soil discovered during construction, installation of fiber optic utility lines, and the replacement of drainage pipes in the construction area.
$5,000 – Nimitz Highway Bike Improvements, Puuhale Road to Waiakamilo Road, Oahu – Design funds for highway bike improvements to existing bicycle facilities by incorporating bike accommodations on the inbound and outbound lanes of Nimitz Highway and extending the existing bike lanes from Waiakamilo Road to Puuhale Road.
By Jeff King
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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced the award of $12,339,016 in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant funding to support Native Hawaiian health care centers across Hawaii. These grants are essential to the continued operation of Native Hawaiian health care centers, enabling them to pay for rent, salaries, various overhead, as well as assist in providing medications for qualified patients.
“Native Hawaiian health care centers are a crucial thread in the fabric of our island communities. This funding will go to Papa Ola Lokahi and the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems on each island, which provide vital services for Hawaii’s indigenous population,” said Hirono. “I will continue to advocate for this and other programs aimed at improving the health and well-being of Native Hawaiians.”
The funding is being distributed through the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The various Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems are:
Together, these health care providers have served as many as 126,000 Native Hawaiians.
HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii’s four county mayors, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) leadership jointly launched the Aloha+ Challenge: A Culture of Sustainability – He Nohona ‘Ae‘oia at a declaration signing held Monday at the Hawaii State Capitol. The statewide joint leadership commitment sets clear targets for clean energy transformation, local food production, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart growth, climate resilience, green jobs and education by 2030.
“The Aloha+ Challenge brings us all together across jurisdictions, agencies, sectors and communities to build a sustainable Hawaii for current and future generations,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who as a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience is in a strong position to provide recommendations on how the federal government can support local efforts outlined today. “The targets transcend political timelines with a longer-term vision that also calls upon us to take bold action now. As a microcosm of the world’s sustainability challenges, it is time for Hawaii to become a global model of how to develop innovative and collaborative solutions.”
The Hawaii State Legislature unanimously passed the Aloha+ Challenge through resolution this year. Hawaii Green Growth, which brings together key leaders from federal, state, county, business and nonprofit organizations, hosted the declaration signing to show broad support.
Hawaii’s commitment to the Aloha+ Challenge is already creating international attention. With the U.S. Department of State, Hawaii has been invited to announce the Aloha+ Challenge on the world stage at a high-level Global Island Partnership event in Samoa this September, during the United Nations’ International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which focuses on sustainable development.
“Alternative energy sources like H-Power, solar and wind, combined with fewer car trips and reduced energy consumption, will help us sustain our island for future generations,” said City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We have to invest in our future, and now is the time to do it.”
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said: “The Aloha+ Challenge is about protecting our Hawaii and maximizing our resources to improve the quality of life for our communities. It reinforces that our decision-making as a state must focus on sustaining our resources for generations to come, and must be rooted in aloha.”
“The Aloha+ Challenge is about leading by example,” Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said. “Our goal is to provide a higher quality of life for our children, and to build a community for our grandchildren that they can be proud of.”
“We are a state separated by ocean, but we are connected in so many ways – by families, by businesses and by shared values and traditions,” said Mayor Bernard Carvahlo of Kauai County. “It is important for us to always remember that. When our leadership focuses on one vision, we are united.”
“We must honor our past while also preparing for our future,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, chief executive officer for OHA. “The active participation of the community partners in this effort will also play a major role in bringing about a better, brighter future for all people of Hawaii.”
In addition to sharing tools and knowledge and expanding partnerships, Hawaii’s top elected officials have agreed to develop a joint system of tracking progress and to increase long-term financing mechanisms for conservation and sustainability programs geared towards reaching the 2030 targets.
The Aloha+ Challenge commits Hawaii to reaching six targets by 2030:
1. Clean Energy: 70 percent clean energy – 40 percent from renewables and 30 percent from efficiency (reinforcing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative)
2. Local Food: At least double local food production – 20 to 30 percent of food consumed is grown locally
3. Natural Resource Management: Reverse the trend of natural resource loss mauka to makai by increasing freshwater security, watershed protection, community-based marine management, invasive species control and native species restoration
4. Waste Reduction: Reduce the solid waste stream prior to disposal by 70 percent through source reduction, recycling, bioconversion and landfill diversion methods
5. Smart Sustainable Communities: Increase livability and resilience in the built environment through planning and implementation at state and county levels
6. Green Workforce and Education: Increase local green jobs and education to implement these targets
In 2011, Gov. Abercrombie signed Act 181, which established sustainability as a priority in the Hawaii State Plan and incorporated the definition, goals and principles of sustainability from the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan into Chapter 226. More than 10,000 citizens participated in the Hawaii 2050 planning process.
HONOLULU — The Department of Public Safety is looking to fill Adult Correction Officer (ACO) vacancies on Hawaii, Kauai and Maui. The recruitment will open on the Department of Human Resources and Development (DHRD) jobseekers webpage tomorrow morning and will end on Tuesday, February 27 at midnight.
To qualify, you must meet all of the requirements listed on DRHD’s webpage. The qualify applicants must be a high school graduate or have a GED. Applicants must have one year of responsible work experience which shows that the applicant possesses the ability to relate effectively with people in following the instructions of a supervisor and giving or exchanging information. If selected, applicants will move on to the Basic Corrections Training.
For a full list of requirements and information on how to apply to become an ACO, please go to the DHRD Jobseeker listings by clicking on the links below:
HONOLULU– Council chairs from all four Hawaii counties today jointly announced their support for legislation that would repeal the cap on distribution of hotel room tax revenue to the county governments.
Council Chairs Gladys Baisa of Maui County, Jay Furfaro of Kauai County, Ernie Martin of the City and County of Honolulu and J Yoshimoto of Hawaii County said they are testifying in support of House Bill 1671 (2014), which is before the House Committee on Tourism on Monday, Feb. 3, at 9:30 a.m.
Revenue from the state’s hotel room tax, known as the transient accommodations tax or TAT, is partially remitted to the counties. Citing the state government budget shortfalls, the legislature imposed an artificial cap on the counties’ annual remittance three years ago, resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue to each county.
The council chairs said county residents and county governments earn TAT revenue by supporting the visitor industry in countless ways, including by funding tourism promotion, providing police, fire and lifeguard services and maintaining roadways, beach parks and other public infrastructure. They say the revenue should be proportionally returned to the counties, under an established formula.
According to Mike McCartney, CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, more than 8.2 million visitors traveled to Hawaii in 2013, a 2.6 percent increase from 2012, generating a total of $1.5 billion in state tax revenues.
Of the TAT revenue that’s returned to the counties, Kauai County receives 14.5 percent, Hawaii County 18.6 percent, Maui County 22.8 percent and the City and County of Honolulu 44.1 percent. Eliminating the artificial cap on distribution would mean the counties would realize additional annual revenue of more than $10 million each.
“In any given day, 21 percent of the population on Kauai is visitors,” Kauai County Council Chair Furfaro said. “It is one of our primary economic engines. If we want them to return to our island, we have to meet their high demands and expectations.”
Kauai County’s annual TAT revenue distribution is currently capped at $13.4 million. With the cap eliminated, Kauai County would expect to get $10.4 million in additional TAT revenue, based on Fiscal Year 2013 projections.
“Over the past few years, Honolulu contributed millions of dollars to upgrade and renovate several areas of Waikiki to enhance the visitor experience,” Honolulu City Council Chair Martin said. “The additional TAT revenues the counties receive would go a long way in maintaining our beaches and parks, to continue to promote our state as a premium visitor destination and, specifically for Honolulu, to avoid enacting poorly conceived revenue-enhancing measures that would negatively infringe upon our well-deserved and longstanding image as one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world.”
The City and County of Honolulu’s projected TAT revenue would be about $72.8 million ($31.8 million more than the current capped amount of $41 million) if the legislature removes the distribution cap.
“We stand united and humbly ask the state legislators to lift the cap they imposed upon our counties three years ago,” Hawaii County Council Chair Yoshimoto said. “We ask that the State legislators allow the counties to receive our fair share of the TAT revenues so that we can provide the necessary services and meet our obligations to residents and visitors alike. “The economy has improved.”
Hawaii County’s capped TAT revenue is $17.2 million. The TAT revenue distribution for Hawaii County would rise to more than $30 million (based on a projected increase of $13.4 million) if the cap is eliminated.
Maui County’s TAT revenue distribution is projected go up by $16.4 million if HB 1671 is enacted. TAT revenue is currently capped at $21.2 million for Maui County.
“As promised, county officials will have a stronger and united lobbying effort this year to ensure that our constituents and visitors get what they deserve,” said Maui County Council Chair Baisa, noting the Hawaii Council of Mayors and Hawaii State Association of Counties also support repealing the cap. “We encourage the public to join us in supporting this measure by submitting testimony.”
Cumulatively, the counties would receive an estimated $72 million in annual revenue under HB 1671, which was co-introduced by all six members of the House of Representatives from Maui County, including Speaker Joseph M. Souki. During the Jan. 15 opening of the legislature, Speaker Souki expressed support for lifting the TAT cap during his remarks, saying, “It’s time.”
Rep. Tom Brower chairs the House Committee on Tourism. Testimony for HB 1671 is accepted at the legislature’s website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.
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