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Spin Launch Met with Opposition, Community Meeting Planned

March 30, 2018, 11:30 AM HST
* Updated March 30, 4:40 PM
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The Hawai‘i Senate Ways and Means Committee has changed the language for a Special Purpose Revenue Bond in HB 2559, so it is no longer site specific.

The bill initially said Spin Launch would construct a satellite launch system on the Island of Hawai‘i. At a hearing on Thursday, March 29, 2018, the WAM Committee changed it to constructing a launch facility in an unspecified area in Hawai‘i.

Sen Glenn Wakai, who introduced the Senate companion bill, said, “I heard from the people in Ka‘ū. I don’t want to give residents the impression that any future launch site was destined for their neighborhood.”

Spin Launch, a technology company in San Jose, California wants to build a small satellite launch site in Hawai‘i. They were initially looking at a spot around Pōhue Bay. That interest was met with much opposition.

Sen. Wakai has encouraged Spin Launch respect the wishes of the community and to look at other sites around Hawai‘i.

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“I sincerely apologize for alarming the people of Ka‘ū,” said Sen. Wakai, “I still believe Hawai‘i can play a role in the global aerospace industry, but not at Pōhue Bay.”

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Sen Wakai will be joining Moku O Keawe Aha Moku O Ka’u in a community meeting on Saturday, April 14, at 10 a.m. at the Na‘alehu Community Center.

A special purpose revenue bond is a bond authorized by Hawai‘i’s Legislature to assist a business to build a project in the public interest. The bonds do not use any public funds and the state is not liable to pay back the debt. SPRBs are not grants or subsidies, and do not place the state’s credit at risk. This is a financing option to allow a business to get a lower interest rate. SPRBs are sold to private investors in exchange for tax-exempt interest payments.

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