Cayetano, on Kauai to seek support for his $1 billion plan to jump-start Hawaii's economy, said Kauai would benefit through increased visitor arrivals by lengthening the runway to allow larger, long-range passenger jets to fly regularly to Kauai.
State Comptroller Sam Callejo yesterday said a consultant is working on an environmental impact statement on the extension. Callejo said that besides environmental concerns, economic and demographic issues are being considered.
In the past, slow-growth proponents have argued for a ban on the expansion.
Kauai's grounded economy could receive a lift from $57 million in state-funded construction projects, Cayetano told political and business leaders at the Kauai Marriott Resort.
Pushing his proposed $1 billion two-year construction budget, the governor attended a variety of meetings, including separate sessions with contractors and business people, educators and students, and county officials.
At an executive session of his planning council, he discussed plans and issues with neighbor island mayors Stephen Yamashiro of the Big Island, Linda Lingle of Maui and Maryanne Kusaka of Kauai.
The talk on Kauai may be just the first in a series to take place on the neighbor islands before the 1997 session of the state Legislature. Cayetano is seeking backing from the diverse groups to convince legislators that his economic recovery plan is viable.
Cayetano offered hope and a list of specific actions to help restore Kauai's economy, still suffering from the aftereffects of Hurricane Iniki, which struck in September 1992.
"Kauai's recovery is slow, but it's coming," Cayetano said.
He also backed the creation of an enterprise zone on Kauai and called for wide-based support for the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island's west side.
Kauai's slice of Cayetano's construction funding package includes a focus on enhancing public schools and Kauai Community College.
Some $36 million for a new intermediate school near Lihue highlights the list of projects. Kauai High & Intermediate schools now share a campus overlooking Nawiliwili Harbor.
Grove Farm Co. is looking at possible sites for the school on its lands at Puhi, Kusaka said.
Funding proposals for other education projects include $11.5 million at Kauai Community College for a tech shop center and other new facilities, $4 million to build a public library at Princeville, and $5.2 million for planning and construction of a new phase of Kapaa Elementary.
Funding would also go to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for infrastructure improvements on its Kauai lands.
Proposals also call for funding improvements to state parks through the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.