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Gov. Ige Signs Law Providing $60 Million in Relief for Big Island

April 16, 2019, 12:17 PM HST
* Updated April 16, 12:32 PM
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Friday, May 3, 2019, will mark one year since the second most destructive lava flow in U.S. history covered parts of Lower East Rift Zone of Hawai‘i Island. Gov. David Ige signed HB1180 Act 009  into law on and on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, providing $60 million in relief to help recovery from this natural disaster.

Knowing the tremendous need following the devastating Kīlauea eruption that destroyed homes, farms and infrastructure last year, lawmakers moved quickly this session to provide financial support to Big Island residents by passing HB 1180 Act 009.

“It’s difficult to restart when you can’t rebuild,” said Rep. Joy San Buenaventura.

The Kīlauea eruption covered nearly 14 square miles in Puna; it destroyed 716 homes and made over three thousand parcels inaccessible, and destroyed a school, farms, cultural sites, roadways, water systems, recreational destinations and a large portion of the electrical grid.

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“On behalf of the people of Puna, we want to say thank you,” said Sen. Russell Ruderman

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Under the new law, $20 million in general funds will be appropriated for fiscal year 2018-2019, as a subsidy to Hawai‘i County to be used for disaster relief activities. The county will be required to report monthly expenditures to the state Department of Budget and Finance.

An additional $40 million in general funds will be appropriated for fiscal year 2018-2019 as a loan to the county, to enable Hawai‘i County to obtain non-state funds such as federal funds for disaster relief. The loan terms will be negotiated by the state Director of Finance.

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“This was an unprecedented four-month disaster,” said Gov. Ige. “We know the recovery will take years, but the effort is supported by the state Legislature and my administration, which will help with local cost share and economic revitalization. At the same time, Hawai‘i’s congressional delegation is pursuing additional federal resources to support the recovery.”

In addition, federal partners will cover approximately 75% of the costs to replace lost infrastructure.

Act 009 takes effect immediately.

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