Funds aimedGov. Ben Cayetano is proposing spending the bulk of his proposed $1 billion emergency construction budget on education, ranging from fixing classrooms to building the University of Hawaii-West Oahu campus.
The governor wants education
to get the bulk of his $1 billion
Both the Department of Education and
the University of Hawaii would benefit, he says
By Richard Borreca
In total, Cayetano is asking the Legislature for authority to spend $978.8 million more for construction projects.
The Cayetano administration estimates the interest on the bonds for the extra $1 billion will be about $85 million, according to Sen. Sam Slom (R, Hawaii Kai).
Yesterday, Cayetano said he wants the Legislature to move because the state is in a financial crisis and needs the help.
"We want to keep the jobs going," Cayetano said.
In a list of proposed projects distributed to legislators this week and made available to the Star-Bulletin are $167 million in projects for the Department of Accounting and General Services.
They include $130 million in small improvements to public schools across the state.
Legislators have said school improvements, especially if the individual schools are given the power to spend the money, is the best way to keep the construction industry going while also helping public education.
Sen. Cal Kawamoto (D, Waipahu-Pearl City), a strong local construction supporter, said yesterday he supported Cayetano's capital improvement projects package. Most Democrats in the Legislature, however, have disagreed with Cayetano's call for spending $1 billion.
The Cayetano plans also ask for $3 million to fix the state Capitol reflecting pool, including replacing the lining and circulation system.
Cayetano said the proposed spending projects for the University of Hawaii and the Department of Education would have a dual benefit. First, they would help the state economy by keeping construction workers employed and construction supplies being bought and sold. Second, the construction means that the state is working to fix classroom and education facilities that need to be repaired.
Sen. Norman Sakamoto (D, Moanalua-Salt Lake), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, agreed that the state needs to help fix Hawaii's schools.
Sakamoto pointed out that last year the Legislature identified $600 million in repairs needed for state schools. "If the $130 million is part of the backlog of the $600 million, then it will go a long way to address the problems with repair and maintenance," he said.
While stopping short of endorsing Cayetano's entire package, Sakamoto said he would be willing to support extra money going to repairing schools in Hawaii.
Here are the major new construction projects proposed by Gov. Ben Cayetano in his emergency Capital Improvement Project request to the state Legislature:
$20 million: Improve roads, parking, lease termination and condemnation in Kakaako Makai area
$20 million: Bishop Museum Learning Center
$6.5 million: Kakaako-Queen Street improvements
$15.9 million: Modernize and renovate public housing
$3.2 million: Building multiagency maintenance and service facility in Lihue, Kauai
$3 million: Replace lining and circulation system at state Capitol reflecting pools
$199.4 million: Construction improvements for public schools
$5 million: Waimea-Paauilo Watershed project
$5 million: Kawaiahae water system (residential water connection to county system)
$14 million: Various Department of Health projects
$38 million: Maui Memorial Medical Center renovation
$20 million: Statewide Department of Land & Natural Resources projects
$3.7 million: Halawa Correctional Facility life safety code upgrades
$150 million: Develop West Oahu University of Hawaii
$55 million: Multipurpose complex at UH-Hilo
$10.8 million: Student Services Building renovation at Maui Community College
$8 million: UH Center West Hawaii Community College
$18.5 million: Administration and student service building at Kauai Community College
$50 million: Systemwide University of Hawaii repair and maintenance
$664 million: Hilo Judiciary Complex
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