I am pleased to report that this year the State Legislature has approved over $180 million in appropriations for West Hawai‘i over the next two fiscal years to improve our region's transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems.
These important new investments in our community's roads, schools, and hospitals will continue to create jobs, stimulate our economy, and build our community for years to come.
I am particularly pleased to report that this year the Legislature has made a strong commitment to complete the new Kona Judiciary Complex, a facility which represents a large state investment in the development of West Hawai‘i and will house 230 full-time employees when it is completed. In 2011, the Legislature appropriated $12 million for land acquisition and design of the complex, and this year the Legislature approved an additional $9 million to begin construction with the intention of approving an additional $81 million to complete construction in the coming years.
This year the Legislature has also approved an additional $2.4 million to complete the construction of phase I of the new West Hawai‘i Community College Campus at Palamanui, bringing the state investment in the new campus to $14.9 million, in addition to private investment of close to $20 million. This new campus will give our young people the option of pursuing higher education in West Hawai‘i, and will serve as an educational resource for our entire community.
In addition, the Legislature has renewed the Hospital Sustainability Act, which will this year again bring more than $37 million in federal money to help strengthen and support hospitals in Hawai‘i, including over $4 million to North Hawai‘i Community Hospital on the Big Island.
Projects approved for West Hawai‘i during the 2013 legislative session include:
Kona International Airport
$113.5 million for airport improvements including construction of the first phase of the terminal expansion program, design and construction of an international arrivals building, and extensive security improvements
Saddle Road Extension
$15.8 million for design of a new roadway extending the Saddle Road from the Hilo terminus to Queen Kaahumanu Highway, and land acquisition and construction of a road maintenance facility that includes maintenance and office structures
Puuanahulu Shooting Range Facility
$13 million for plans, design, and construction of the Puuanahulu Shooting Range Facility
NELHA Frontage Road
$9.7 million for construction of a frontage road and new connections to the Kaiminani Drive and Makako Bay Drive intersections on Queen Kaahumanu Highway
Kona Judiciary Complex
$9 million for plans, design, and construction of a new Judiciary Complex in Kona
$6 million for construction of drainage improvements to Mamalahoa Highway in the vicinity of Puuwaawaa Ranch Road
Kona Community Hospital
$4 million for renovations and upgrades to Kona Community Hospital
Manuka Natural Area Reserve
$3.5 million for plans, design, and construction of a boundary fence at the Manuka Natural Area Preserve
West Hawai‘i Community College at Palamanui
$2.4 million for design and construction of the completion of phase I of the new West Hawai‘i Community College Campus
Kohala Community Hospital
$1 million for renovations and upgrades to Kohala Community Hospital
Kealakehe High School
$300,000 for design of upgrades to an all-weather and synthetic track at Kealakehe High School
Please join me at the West Hawai‘i Community Forum on Tuesday, May 14 at 6:00 pm at the Main Pavilion of Maka'eo (Old Airport) Park, along with our other legislators from West Hawai‘i. Come join us for pupus and beverages, talk story, and share your ideas and concerns with your representatives in state government.
As your State Senator, I will continue to work hard every day to improve our transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems and make our roads, schools, and hospitals in West Hawai‘i the best that they can be.
Let's keep working together to achieve even greater results in the coming years, and to make West Hawai‘i and our entire state an even better place to live.