Legislator Touts Session’s Benefits for West Hawaii
The legislative session that concluded Thursday will result in more than $180 million in West Hawaii capital improvements funded during the next two fiscal years, the state senator representing the area said today.
Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat who represents Kona and Ka`u, said the funding will improve the region’s transportation, education, healthcare and justice systems.
Green said he was particularly pleased with lawmakers’ commitment toward a new Kona judiciary complex.
The Legislature this year appropriated $9 million toward construction of the complex to be located near the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kealakehe, Green said in statement. That was on top of $12 million in this year’s budget for land acquisition and design for the $90 million facility.
State judiciary officials say a new Kona courthouse is long overdue as court proceedings in West Hawaii are currently spread across three facilities which presents a variety of logistical and security challenges.
Green, an emergency room physician who chairs the Senate’s Health Committee, said lawmakers also renewed the Hospital Sustainability Act which will bring more than $37 million in federal funds to support hospitals in Hawaii. That funding includes more than $4 million for North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea.
Capital improvement projects and their funding approved by the Legislature during the past session include:
West Hawaii Community College Campus at Palamanui – an additional $2.4 million to complete the construction of phase I, bringing the state funding for the facility to $14.9 million in addition to private investment of nearly $20 million.
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 –$8.2 million for design of a new roadway extending Saddle Road to Queen Kaahumanu Highway and $7.6 million for development of a road maintenance baseyard.
Pu`uanahulu Shooting Range — $13 million for plans, design and construction of the North Kona facility.
Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway frontage road — $9.7 million for construction of a frontage road along the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii with new connections to Kaiminani Drive and Makako Bay Drive.
Mamalahoa Highway — $6 million for construction of drainage improvements to the highway in the vicinity of Puuwaawaa Ranch Road.
Kona Community Hospital — $4 million for renovations and upgrades.
Manuka Natural Area Reserve — $3.5 million for plans, design, and construction of a boundary fence at the South Kona preserve.
Kohala Community Hospital — $1 million for renovations and upgrades.
Kealakehe High School — $300,000 for design of upgrades to an all-weather, synthetic track.
“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,” Green said.
***Updated at 4:12 p.m. to correct Saddle Road appropriations.***