Stimulus vows $678M for Hawaii


POSTED: Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hawaii's public schools will receive a large slice of federal financial aid generated in the economic stimulus act approved by both houses of Congress.





        Hawaii's share of the $787 billion in federal stimulus money:

Education: $158.2 million to the public system, to prevent cutbacks and layoffs in education, for school modernization and incentive grants to meet key education performance measures


Transportation: $125.7 million in highway funding, including infrastructure for rail and ports at the state's discretion; $43.8 million for investment in mass transit


Energy: $25.9 million through the State Energy Program and $4.4 million through the Weatherization Assistance Program to go to development of clean energy sources and renewable energy technologies and modernizing and upgrading government buildings and vehicles


Clean water: $50.5 million for drinking-water and clean-water infrastructure


Law enforcement: $10.8 million in grants to support law enforcement agency programs; $1.1 million for technology to enhance investigation of Internet offenders, especially exploitation of children; $1.2 million to improve criminal justice system's response to victims of domestic violence and sex crimes




Source: Office of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye


The state's share of funding for highways and transit, education and social services, housing and environment is estimated at $678 million, according to an announcement by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's office.

Direct aid many Hawaii residents can anticipate are tax cuts up to $400 per individual and $800 for couples, refundable tax credits to help with college tuition and increases in benefits paid to laid-off workers, Social Security recipients and disabled veterans.

About $30 million will come to the state if it modernizes unemployment insurance as required by the act. About 55,000 workers in Hawaii who lost jobs would receive an additional $100 a month in unemployment benefits, according to a release from U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie.

Abercrombie said the stimulus spending will lead to creation or saving of 15,000 jobs in Hawaii.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act places emphasis on investing in the future work force through education incentives, Inouye said. Among the investments in public education are:

» $158.2 million to prevent cutbacks and layoffs in public education, for school modernization and for incentive grants to meet key education performance measures. Abercrombie said it includes funding for laboratories, more classrooms and libraries for at least 33 schools.

» $39.9 million in state grants to help improve education provided for people with disabilities.

» $4.8 million in education technology funds for computers, software and professional development to ensure technology is used effectively in the classroom.

There is more than $325 million available to Hawaii for infrastructure including roads, bridges, flood prevention, clean-water projects and $30.3 million for energy efficiency efforts.

“;Hawaii is in good shape in planning for the stimulus,”; said Barry Fukunaga, chief of staff to Gov. Linda Lingle. “;We have been working with Sen. Daniel Inouye's office to coordinate on how to get the funds into our departments.”;

Fukunaga said some of the stimulus funding is designated for uses “;we have already identified and are trying to accomplish, such as in energy, airports, harbors, broadband initiative. It will allow us to do things a lot sooner.”;

He said social services and education programs will likely see the most immediate impact. In one example the state could receive $3.6 billion, $400 million a quarter over 27 months, for additional Medicaid reimbursement to meet health care costs for lower-income residents.