Legislative Session Funds Various West Projects
By Sen. Will Espero
The 2012 Legislature funded many projects for West Oahu, addressing health care, transportation, education and the military. Capital improvement appropriations will provide plans, designs, land acquisition, construction, equipment, and ground and site improvements needed for many facilities in our region. Below is a brief overview of some of the highlights.
HEALTH CARE The closure of Hawaii Medical Center led West Oahu residents to the next nearest facilities for emergency medical care. Wahiawa General Hospital will get $1.25 million to modernize and expand its emergency department, and the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center will receive $2 million to upgrade its emergency services building. HB1953, Emergency Medical Care, funds $1 million for on-call availability of emergency care and ambulance services to Ewa Beach and Nanakuli.
The state Department of Transportation was given $200,000 to study the feasibility of extending the zipper lane to Kapolei, west of the Kunia on-ramp under HB2684 Zipper Lane. Kualakai Parkway will be extended to Roosevelt Avenue with $15 million.
Road improvements near UH West Oahu on Farrington Highway total $1,250,000.
UH AND SCHOOLS
The University of Hawaii’s new West Oahu campus will receive funds for the planning and designing of two new facilities: the Academy of Creative Media and an allied health building, along with various other improvements.
Funding also is provided for plans, design and/or construction of three new public schools in the area.
Several schools will receive funds for facilities, equipment, upgrades, improvements and other needs: Ewa Elementary, $9,600,000 (new eight-classroom building); Honowai Elementary, $190,000 (new stairway); Ewa Beach Elementary, $1,480,000 (for upgrades in the electrical system); Kaleiopuu Elementary, $1,175,000 (electrical upgrades and ramp); Kapolei High, $4,665,000 (locker room/shower); Waikele Elementary, $969,000 (performing arts stage in cafeteria, resurfacing basketball court, playground); Waipahu High, $1,200,000 (athletic field and retaining wall).
MILITARY An Army National Guard consolidated facility at Kalaeloa will be renovated; $709,000 will fund utilities, an access road, a parking area, security fencing, renovations and more. The 29th Brigade will receive $483,000 for a new combat team readiness center. Army Guard facilities will be renovated for $516,500.
TOURISM For five years, I have been working with the state Office of Aerospace Development on space-related initiatives. This year the Legislature funded $1.8 million for the construction of a Pacific International Space Center for Explorations Systems (PISCES) facility on the Big Island. With SB112, which I sponsored, Hawaii will apply for a spaceport license, beginning a new era in space tourism for our state.
Another one of my bills created an advisory group for eventually building an educational center around the WWII Honouliuli Internment Camp in Kunia.
WEED AND SEED
The Weed and Seed program was funded $336,000 thanks to SB2261 and continuing efforts to reduce crime, drug abuse and gang activity through prevention, intervention, and neighborhood revitalization projects, programs, and activities.
The Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Fund was given $30 million. An electrical distribution system between Roosevelt Road and Tripoli Road, the Kalaeloa East Energy Corridor, will be built for $3.5 million. Kunia Agricultural Park will undergo utility, road and drainage improvements, with the possibility of creating a subdivision.
For more information, please contact me at 586-6360 or email me at email@example.com.