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Friday, May 1, 2009
Gov. Lingle seeks public input on veto decisions
By Gov. Linda Lingle @ 9:26 PM :: 6091 Views :: Hawaii State Government


After the legislative session concludes, my Administration must continue its work carefully reviewing all of the bills passed by the Legislature. As Governor, I have until July 14 to sign bills into law, veto them or let them become law without my signature. I encourage you to send my office your input during this comprehensive review process at governor.lingle@hawaii.gov  so that we can approve legislation that boosts our economy, creates jobs and balances our budget in a way that is fair to all the people of Hawai‘i.

In April, I was fortunate to be able to share updates from my Administration during several trips to the Big Island. I spoke with local business leaders at the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce meeting in Hilo; met with family members of our Hilo-based troops, who are half-way through their deployment to Kuwait; and toured Kekaha Kai State Park, which plays a key role in the Recreational Renaissance plan the state Department of Land and Natural Resources introduced in the 2009 legislative session.

I also attended the groundbreaking of a new company called Big Island Carbon that will turn macadamia nut shells into high-quality activated carbon that can be used in pharmaceutical, environmental and other industries. The construction of Big Island Carbon – an investment of nearly $20 million into our state – will create about 100 jobs and employ 30 local residents once completed. Using what was previously considered waste to make a new and profitable product, the company also represents the innovative direction we need to move our economy over the long-term. Instead of abandoning our long-term priorities when times are tough, we must maintain our vision for the long-term future through public-private partnerships.

Located in Kawaihae, Big Island Carbon is leasing land from our state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), which generates commercial lease revenue as an additional resource for fulfilling its obligation to native Hawaiians while increasing the quality of life for all the people of Hawai‘i.

DHHL was also a partner in the recent construction of a road extension that will relieve traffic and significantly reduce commute times for West Hawai‘i residents. Connecting the communities of La‘i ‘Ōpua and Kealakehe, the new, extended Keanalehu Drive was a joint project by DHHL and Hawai‘i County that put more than $14 million into the local economy. It is also part of a larger, ambitious regional plan for the Kealakehe-La‘i ‘Ōpua area that DHHL is leading in partnership with several landowners, agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Moving forward with construction projects that will put our people back to work and improve residents’ quality of life is a top priority for my Administration. Last December, we launched a collaborative $1.8 billion capital improvement project (CIP) initiative with neighbor island mayors, including Mayor Kenoi, to accelerate public infrastructure projects statewide. Projects on the Big Island include DHHL’s La‘i ‘Ōpua Villages 5, which will infuse approximately $17 million in the economy and provide more homes for native Hawaiians.

In addition to the Keanalehu Drive extension project, the State and Hawai‘i County are also collaborating on the use of Department of Transportation federal stimulus funds. Hawai‘i County currently has “shovel-ready” projects totaling $46.6 million, including the construction of the Ane Keohokalole Highway Extension to Henry Street, otherwise known as the Mid-Level Road, which is another critical component of the Kealakehe-La‘i ‘Ōpua regional plan. In total, federally funded DOT projects are expected to create 600 jobs on the Big Island.

I want to thank those of you who have followed legislation and testified for or against bills that mattered to you this legislative session. Once again, I welcome your input on bills that are passed by the Legislature as I consider whether to sign or veto them.  Please send my office your feedback at governor.lingle@hawaii.gov or visit my website at www.hawaii.gov/gov for the latest updates.


Governor Linda Lingle


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