East Hawaii News

Lawmakers Weighing $49M for Big Island Harbors

January 30, 2013, 3:07 PM HST
* Updated January 31, 8:50 AM
Listen to this Article
1 minute
Loading Audio...
A
A
A

Improvements costing nearly $49 million would be made to the Big Island’s two deep-draft harbors under a bill moving through the state Legislature.

Senate Bill 475 would restore funding originally proposed by legislation in 2008. The funding was not released by former Gov. Linda Lingle and lapsed last year.

The proposed funding for Kawaihae Harbor includes $26 million for design and construction of terminal improvements, $9 million for design and site work for a new pier and $500,000 for a plan to improve cargo facilities.

At Hilo Harbor, the bill would provide $13.4 million for additional inter-island cargo areas, including a new pier.

The funding is part of nearly $144 million the bill contains for harbor projects statewide.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

According to the bill, the state’s aging harbor infrastructure has not kept pace with the its growing economy. The result has been “severe congestion” as cargo, fuel and cruise ship operations compete for existing space.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

“Ocean surface transportation is our state’s lifeline,” the bill said. “It remains the only viable means to service the largest share of Hawaii’s economic needs.

“Harbor users, the state administration, and the legislature recognize that it is now extremely critical to upgrade existing port facilities and develop harbor improvements in an expedited manner,” the bill said.

The improvements would be funded through the issuing of general obligation bonds. Those borrowed funds would be repaid by revenues from rents, mooring charges and other income the state receives from the use of harbors.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

The bill was unanimously approved Monday by the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs and received the second of three required Senate votes today. It moves next to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Big Island Sens. Josh Green (D-Kona, Ka`u) and Russell Ruderman (D-Puna) are among the bill’s co-sponsors, which include the Senate’s lone Republican, Sen. Sam Slom.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Cancel
Mahalo for Subscribing
×

Comments

This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments