New Budget Includes $845M for Construction in Hawaii

Wed January 23, 2008 - West Edition
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HONOLULU (AP) The omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress includes nearly $845 million in spending for Hawaii, the state’s senators said Dec. 20.

Approximately 60 percent of the money — some $534 million — will go to military construction projects, said Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka.

A big chunk of the total, about $136 million, will be spent to build a new regional operations center for the National Security Agency in central Oahu.

Other military construction items include barracks complexes at Schofield Barracks and the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay.

The bill, sent to the president after a 272-142 vote, funds 14 Cabinet departments and foreign aid for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

President Bush is expected to sign the measure.

Also included is $15 million for Honolulu mass transit and $4.6 million to replace the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor’s Center, which is slowly sinking because it was built on unstable land.

Inouye said $68 million will go to programs benefiting Native Hawaiians, including programs for health care, education and housing.

Other highlights:

• $25 million for a laboratory that will study emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism threats.

• $6.7 million to compensate commercial fishermen for lost revenue after they’re forced to abandon fishing in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.

• $4.0 million to improve the Kawainui marsh habitat, the largest remaining wetland in Hawaii.

• $2.7 million to control brown tree snakes, an invasive species, in Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

• $1.8 million to finish construction of the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary learning center on Maui.

• $893,000 for additional personnel, equipment and the redesign of the Honolulu Police Department’s crime lab.

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