Funding bill offers $13.5M to aid isles
The legislation aims to fund repairs after harmful downpours
U.S. House and Senate negotiators agreed to spend about $11 million to repair Kuhio Highway on Kauai and roads on Oahu damaged by this year's foul weather.
The money is part of some $13.5 million earmarked for Hawaii in an emergency supplemental appropriations bill.
The measure also includes $2 million to analyze dams and reservoirs that might have been weakened by the torrential rain.
The legislation must be approved by the House and Senate before being sent to President Bush.
"I am disappointed that the recovery assistance is less than what the Senate had approved," U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said Friday in a news release.
"But it was the firm decision of the Bush administration that this appropriations measure be devoted almost entirely for funding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for hurricane recovery along the Gulf Coast," Inouye said.
"While it was my desire that federal assistance reach the affected people of Hawaii as quickly as possible, it was clear that the Bush White House placed very little priority on Hawaii and other areas of the United States that experienced devastating natural disasters," he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued grants totaling more than $500,000 for individual assistance, and the Small Business Administration has approved more than $1.3 million in loans for homes and businesses, Inouye said.
"I am particularly interested in FEMA's commitment to stabilize Round Top Drive in Honolulu, including clearing the mudslide and debris, and reopening the road for the affected residents, as well as reimbursing the City and County of Honolulu for the emergency Beachwalk sewer line repair, which impacted the Ala Wai Canal and Waikiki beaches," he said.