Lawmakers Approve $100 Million for Kaua‘i Disaster Relief

April 19, 2018, 7:12 AM HST · Updated April 19, 7:13 AM
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House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (from left), Senator J. Kalani English, Finance Committee Chair Representative Sylvia J. Luke, Finance Committee Vice Chair Representative Ty J.K. Cullen, Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., Ways and Means Chair Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Representative Nadine K. Nakamura, Representative Dee Morikawa, Representative James Kunane Tokioka, and Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi. Photo by Hawaiʻi House of Representatives Majority

State lawmakers on Wednesday allocated a total of $125 million for immediate disaster relief, mostly for Kauaʻi where crews continue to conduct flood remediation. The recent storms dropped more than three feet of rain on parts of Kaua‘i over the weekend.  The funds are for road, bridge and other infrastructure repairs for stricken communities.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said that with the ground soaked and more rain forecast, it is time to move quickly on funding to give those in need some hope for the future.

Senate Bill 192 provides $100 million in general funds for relief on Kauai and an additional $25 million for flood-related repairs across the state.

Because of the desperate circumstances, this Senate bill was selected as the best way to quickly authorize this emergency funding.  The funds will be allotted to the State Department of Defense for disaster relief this fiscal year for the repairs and will lapse at the end of the next fiscal year.

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“Kaua‘i residents need our help immediately,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (McCully, Kāheka, Kakaʻako, Downtown). “The rains and flooding have decimated roads, bridges, power lines and other infrastructure. With the ground soaked and more rain predicted, we cannot wait to act. We need to move quickly on funding repairs and give those in need some hope for the future.”

“I am in complete agreement with Speaker Saiki and additionally, I would like to thank my legislative colleagues for their support in recognizing the dire needs of Kaua‘i residents,” said Senator Ronald D. Kouchi (Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau).

“This tragedy is very personal for me because I have many friends and family in the flooded areas, and critical because I represent these communities in the Legislature,” said Representative Nadine K. Nakamura (Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Kapaʻa, Wailuā). “I want to thank Speaker Saiki, President Kouchi, Chairs Luke and Dela Cruz and all my colleagues in the Legislature for their compassion and quick action to make this relief funding happen.”

“Many of us have spent the last few days witnessing the utter devastation that has once again struck our family and friends on the island of Kaua‘i,” said Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz (Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Rather than sit and wait, it’s clear that the Legislature must commit our efforts to the rebuilding process for those impacted by the floods in these final days of session. In this joint effort by both chambers, we wish to offer our kokua through the adoption of this conference draft for Senate Bill 192.”

“We all know when it is important to take action quickly, and clearly this is one of those times,” said Finance Committee Chair Representative Sylvia Luke, (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nu‘uanu, Dowset Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa). “While State and Counties officials work to get a complete assessment of the damages, we know it is important to supply this immediate infusion of cash support to the people of Kaua‘i in their time of need.”

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