Hawaii Unveils $246 Million in Federally Funded Road Projects

Fri April 17, 2009 - West Edition
Herbert A. Sample - Associated Press



HONOLULU (AP) The state Transportation Department on March 16 unveiled 22 transportation-related construction projects that will be financed by money provided by the recently-enacted federal economic stimulus legislation.

The $246 million in projects include road repairs and construction, a new bridge, traffic signal upgrades and improvements to two airports.

“They achieve the goals, which is to get people back to work as well as making an investment in our infrastructure,” said Brennon Morioka, director of the transportation agency.

To obtain the money, Gov. Linda Lingle signed two documents required by the stimulus bill certifying that the money would be used for the purposes it was given.

“This is very unusual,…a governor personally going on the line and saying not only will these projects be completed but we’ll do it in a transparent fashion,” Lingle said at a press conference.

She noted that the transportation funds from the stimulus bill can only be used for those purposes and not to help other state services.

The federally-funded projects will create more than 3,100 jobs, Morioka estimated. That is in addition to jobs the Lingle administration has said will be generated by the $1.8 billion capital improvement program the governor unveiled in December.

The largest chunk of money, more than $58 million, will construct a new home for explosive detection systems at Honolulu International Airport. Nearly $24 million will finance a similar project at Maui’s Kahului Airport, which also will receive $16.7 million to improve the pavement on aircraft aprons.

A number of road projects will be funded, including a new $17 million South Punaluu Bridge on Kamehameha Highway on Oahu; another $17 million for short-term improvements to Kuhio Highway on Kauai; and $35 million for a new, four-lane Ana Keohokalaoloe Highway on the Big Island.

Traffic signals upgrades in Oahu will cost about $4 million, and maintenance of the Hawaii Belt Road on the Big Island will cost about $11 million.

The projects will be listed, and their progress updated, on a new Transportation Department Web site that is required by the stimulus measure.