Funds OK’d for repair projects

The state House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve $65 million in funding to begin construction of a new Kihei high school.

The appropriation for the South Maui high school is half of what has been sought by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the state Department of Education and South Maui lawmakers to complete the school construction all at once.

The money is part of statewide capital improvement project funding that included significant appropriations for Maui County schools, infrastructure and facilities, according to a news release from state House Speaker Joe Souki.

The funding also includes $28 million to build a new auditorium for King Kekaulike High School in Pukalani, $1.5 million for classroom building and support improvements at Kaunakakai Elementary School and $750,000 for a new classroom building at Lahaina Intermediate School.

Souki, who represents Wailuku, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala and Waikapu, said, “The funding approved by the House will allow us to move forward on much needed repair and maintenance of our public schools on Maui.”

Other Maui appropriations in the capital improvement project budget include:

* $22.7 million for repair, maintenance, upgrade and improvements for Maui Memorial Medical Center.

* $4.7 million for construction of a Central Maui regional sports complex.

* $50 million in federal and other funds for improvements and land acquisition for Kahului Airport.

* $3 million for improvements along Honoapiilani Highway, including shoreline erosion mitigation.

* $2.9 million to acquire land for a new two-lane highway from Kihei to Upcountry.

The CIP budget now goes to the state Senate for further consideration. Once approved by the state House and state Senate, the funds are released at the discretion of the governor.