State to get $807M in stimulus


POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hawaii's construction industry is counting on the federal economic stimulus package to fund projects in the state, providing jobs and much-needed cash flow.

;[Preview]    Stimulus Packages May Boost Local Construction Projects

Federal and state officials told construction summit leaders that the federal stimulus package may help the construction industry sustain projects.



The total amount of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds allotted to Hawaii, so far, is an estimated $807.2 million, according to Jennifer Sabas, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

A total of $717.8 million of “;formula-based”; funding is expected to go toward highway and transit projects, in addition to education and social services, housing and environment.

Another $89.4 million is expected to be funneled toward Hawaii through specific federal agency projects and competitive grant opportunities.

The total amount is still expected to go up, according to Sabas, who says the total amount, including tax-relief measures, could be close to $2 billion for the state of Hawaii.

More than 100 general contractors and builders from across the isles listened attentively to details about stimulus-related projects at yesterday's Construction Summit, sponsored by the Pacific Resource Partnership.

The construction projects on the horizon come at a time when the industry has taken a hard hit.

“;Even during the 1990s recession, we didn't see a drop-off of this magnitude,”; said Kyle Chock, PRP's executive director.

Nearly 3,000 union carpenters are now out of work, according to Chock, with the neighbor isles hardest hit. In Kona, 75 percent of union carpenters are benched, and in Hilo, 65 percent are out of work.

Sabas said the act's goal is to put people back to work, build and improve infrastructure and offer modest tax cuts for working families.

Federal dollars will go toward addressing education; transportation, including airports and county bus transit systems; public housing; a homeless prevention fund; community health centers; law enforcement; broadband improvements; and a state energy program.

For the energy program, a total of about $30 million — which was announced last week — has been set aside for the state's weatherization assistance program ($4 million) and energy-efficiency program ($26 million).

The governor's office announced Monday that federal stimulus funds for highway, airport and bus transit improvements ($248 million) would create more than 3,000 jobs. The transportation projects are set to start in the near future.

Besides the federal stimulus package, the state also has announced a $1.8 billion capital improvement project and the $4.2 billion Highways Modernization Plan.



» Preventing cutbacks/layoffs in education and school modernization, $192.2 million

» Highway funding, $127.5 million

» Airports, $76.5 million

» County bus transit systems, $43.8 million

» Public housing, $16.3 million

» Short-term rental assistance, utility payments, $6.2 million

» State energy program, $25.9 million

» Weatherization assistance program, $4 million

» Community health centers, $2.7 million

» Law enforcement, $10.7 million

Source: Sen. Daniel Inouye's office