Funding secured for teacher housing, flood mitigation and small boat harbors in S. Maui
State Senator Angus McKelvey of Maui announced nearly $80 million in capital improvement project funds for Senate District 6 in the final version of this year’s budget bill.
“Although compromises were made to reconcile the House and Senate drafts, I want to thank Ways and Means Chair, Senator Dela Cruz, and our CIP Chair, Senator Keith-Agaran, for their work during negotiations,” said Sen. McKelvey (District 6 – West Maui, Mā’alaea, Waikapū, South Maui), adding his thanks to the other members of the Maui delegation for their support.
Some of the highlights for District 6 include funds for teacher housing, flood mitigation measures for South Maui, funds for West Maui’s small boat harbors and ramps, and upgrades for district schools.
“I am happy to announce that the Senate secured $45 million for teacher housing which will be conveniently located near existing schools in South Maui,” Sen. McKelvey said, noting the facility will also include necessary space to expand the state’s universal pre-kindergarten program. Because the funds will be used to convert existing hotel rooms into apartments, they should be able to come online faster compared to building such housing from the ground up, according to Sen. McKelvey.
“In my meetings with school principals prior to this year’s legislative session, the recurring concern from each administrator was that teacher housing was essential to fully staffing our schools, and teachers have been priced out of housing repeatedly leaving our schools understaffed and our children without teachers,” McKelvey reported. “This project will go a long way in fixing this critical problem.”
Funding for major improvements to West Maui’s small boat harbor and ramp is also included in the final version of HB300 CD1. McKelvey detailed that $4 million will be allotted for pier repairs, lighting, and other work at Lahaina Harbor, while Māla Ramp will receive $3.2 million for “much-needed upgrades and improvements.”
“As everyone knows, these facilities are grossly in need of immediate repair to address the demands of our boat users and members of the community who rely on these facilities for fishing and recreational purposes,” McKelvey said.
The final budget also contains over a million dollars to begin the process of implementing flood control measures and other efforts to rehabilitate the Waipuʻilani Gulch and Kūlanihākoʻi Gulch systems.
“Recent events have only underscored the critical need for us to collectively address flood mitigation in South Maui,” McKelvey said. He cautioned, however, “these monies are contingent on the county matching the state funding. I am hopeful Council member Cook and the County Council will match these vital funds in the county budget for this essential project.”
The first-term Senator cited that certain funds have been outlined in the budget as capitol improvement projects while other monies will be included in lump-sum funding and operational budgets for state departments.
“Capital improvement projects are just the beginning of what the state budget will bring to Maui. An important part of the budget is monies delivered to state agencies to fund critical projects for the people of Maui County,” McKelvey said.