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Bill Would Boost Access To Clean Energy Systems

Sen. Mike Gabbard

Aloha Friends,

I’ll host my next “Listen Story” meeting at the Kapolei Starbucks at 9 a.m. May 4, which is right after the May 2 closing of the Legislative Session. So I will give a wrap-up of all the highlights.

Here are a few things I’d like to share with you.

Green Infrastructure Financing Program Would Be Huge for Lowering Electricity Bills

One of the key energy bills this session is SB 1087. This proposal was put forward by Gov. Abercrombie and would establish the regulatory framework for a Green Infrastructure Financing Program, better known as on-bill financing.

It would provide a perfect avenue for low-income residents to reduce their electricity bills, because they would be able to get low-interest loans to purchase clean energy systems, including solar, and pay it off over the long-term on their utility bills.

It also would allow renters, churches and nonprofits to potentially tap into the program.

A recent OmniTrak Survey of Hawaii homeowners found that 70 percent would make such an investment if low-interest loans were available for energy-saving home improvements. An initial $100-million bond issuance could finance between 5,000 and 10,000 photovoltaic systems.

With this program, Hawaii would be the first in the nation to use a bond structure to finance a commercial lending program for solar.

Kudos to Mayor Caldwell for Road Re-paving and Bus Service Restoration Plans

I was extremely pleased to hear of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s bold initiative to get city streets repaved by 2017.

In reviewing the list, we noted that in Senate District 20, there are nine streets in Waipahu, 32 streets in Ewa, and 53 streets in Makakilo set to be repaved starting this year.

The entire list can be found online here: www1.honolulu.gov/ddc/projectsall.pdf.

It also was great news to learn that starting on March 23, the city will restore weekend and holiday bus service frequencies for the Country Express Route C (Makaha to Kapolei to Ala Moana Center) back from every 60 minutes to every 30 minutes.

Starting in May, the city also will restore week-day bus service for Route C from every 45 minutes to every 30 minutes.

Rockne Freitas Appointed UH West Oahu Chancellor

A big congratulations to Rockne Freitas,who was approved by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Feb. 21 as the new UH West Oahu chancellor. His job will begin May 1.

Current chancellor Gene Awakuni will have the title of Chancellor Emeritus and be reassigned as a senior adviser to the president from May 1, until his retirement date in early July.

A big mahalo to Dr. Awakuni for all of his great work in getting the new Kapolei campus built and being such a fantastic leader!

Please contact me at 586-6830 or by email at sengabbard@capitol.hawaii.gov if I can help you or your family in any way.

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