I hope Big Island residents enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. The start of the New Year offers us a chance to think about what we would like to achieve in the coming months and how we can work together. A major focus for my Administration is our collaborative capital improvement initiative.
Last month, legislators, construction industry executives, union leaders and our three neighbor island mayors, including Hawai`i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, joined me to unveil a sweeping plan to implement more than $1.8 billion in public infrastructure improvement projects statewide. The goal of this plan is to get people in construction and related industries back on the job, bolster our economy and improve residents’ quality of life.
We are committed to getting 1,521 projects started within the next 18 months as part of this aggressive effort, which is a key component of my Administration’s five-point economic action plan (www.hawaii.gov/gov/economy). Working in partnership with county governments and the private sector, this focus on construction activity will allow us to take control of our destiny at a time when “business as usual” is no longer an option.
In compiling the list, our criterion was to find projects that had already been budgeted and approved by the Legislature and that were ready to start construction within the next 18 months. On the Big Island, this includes 327 projects worth more than $407 million that will preserve and create jobs and address the concerns of residents and businesses about the state of the Big Island’s public schools, airports, harbors, highways, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and other public facilities. Project highlights include:
- Kona Airport Parking Lot Expansion Phase III (estimated cost: $7.1 million)
- Construction of Inter-Island Cargo Terminal Facility at Hilo Harbor – Dredging (estimated cost $20 million)
- University of Hawai`i – Hilo, Student Services Building Addition and Renovation (estimated cost: $21.7 million)
- Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway Widening, Phase II (estimated cost: $77.2 million)
- Laiopua Village 5, House Construction, 50 to 100 Homes, Developer Financed for DHHL (estimated cost: $17,000,000)
To ensure that this effort stays on target, all 1,521 projects statewide are posted on my website at www.hawaii.gov/cip, where you can track when a project is going out to bid, when the contract will be awarded, what permits are still required, and if additional action is needed by a specific government agency – state, county or federal – to keep the project moving. We are inviting Big Island residents and businesses to keep the pressure on us and our partners to resolve any bottlenecks quickly.
In addition to moving forward with infrastructure improvements and other components of our five-point plan, we recently submitted to the State Legislature our proposed biennium budget, culminating a lengthy and in-depth review of costs and programs by all 18 state departments.
I believe the budget reflects the fiscal discipline that Hawai‘i residents expect. It reduces operating costs while preserving essential services to the greatest extent possible. At the same time, it focuses our available resources in areas of long-term importance to the state, like clean energy and education.
This is a time of shared sacrifice for our state. By pursuing collaboration with the private sector and across the political aisle, I am confident our economy will emerge stronger over the long-term.
Please find information on my five-point plan and our proposed biennium budget on my website at www.hawaii.gov/gov. In addition to communicating with your legislators during the upcoming legislative session, please send my office your ideas and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!
Governor Linda Lingle