WAILUKU - For South and West Maui legislators, 2010 will be all about hanging on to what they thought they already had.
Money may have already been budgeted for a new Kihei high school, but South and West Maui Sen. Roz Baker said her top priority for the legislative session would be to make sure that the $27 million already appropriated isn't raided or allowed to lapse as the state struggles to deal with its fiscal crisis.
"The land has been identified. They're in the process of designing it. We just want to keep it moving," she said.
Baker's other priorities for her district include making sure funding stays in place for previously budgeted major projects, including the Lahaina bypass and Maalaea Small Boat Harbor improvements.
"I don't want any of those pieces we put in the budget previously to fall out now," she said.
South Maui Rep. Joe Bertram III also said he would be keeping his eye on the Kihei high school funds and other previously funded projects in his district.
"We put in so much stuff, and it kind of got derailed by this budget crisis," he said. "So the thing now is making sure we don't lose our share."
Other priorities for Bertram included introducing a bill that would fund the development of a master plan for Makena State Park, including plans for a campground and walking trails.
A similar bill introduced last year passed out of the House, but did not make it through the Senate, he said.
"I'd like to continue that, because we do need camping here," he said. "Local families need somewhere to go."
Among the new projects she planned to put forward, Baker said she would try again this year to get funding for the Lahainaluna High School Foundation's "Redo the Imu" campaign to develop a modern athletic stadium at the campus.
"The oldest school west of the Rockies does not have a bona fide football field with a track, lights and all that," she said.
The foundation has determined it needs $7 million to complete the project, but Baker said she would break the request into smaller components so that the project could at least move forward if not all the funding were approved.
"We're going to see how much we can get," she said.
Also in West Maui, Rep. Angus McKelvey said he wanted to be realistic about his budget requests this year. It would be a waste of time to request funding for projects that the Lingle administration wouldn't move forward, he said.
"Here's the strategy," he said. "Realistically, because we're in a deficit year, you need to know what the governor is going to possibly release. I'm going to align my request with the administration, and I think by supporting each other, hopefully we'll get things funded."
He planned to support a $55 million request for realignment work on Honoapiilani Highway and a Department of Transportation plan for improvements to the Kaanapali Parkway intersection.
But he said he would hold off on requesting money for other projects, like a walkway and pedestrian bridge between Wahikuli Beach Park and Canoes Restaurant in Lahaina that wasn't in the Transportation Department's plan.
"I'm not going to propose it because I know they'd withhold the funding," he said.
In other capital improvement projects, McKelvey said he would support a request from the state Department of Education for an erosion control project for the Lahainaluna football field.
"On the makai side of the field, there's huge ravines and rivulets, and it's eating away at the field itself," he said.
He was still waiting to see what projects the state Department of Land and Natural Resources would propose for small-boat harbors in his district.
"I'm hoping the improvements for the dock at Mala Wharf will be included in there," he said.
On the policy side, McKelvey planned to propose another round of reforms to the state's procurement code.
Bills passed last year, including a new law requiring companies bidding for state contracts to put up a bond in order to protest how the contract was awarded, have been "very successful," he said.
This year, McKelvey planned to propose adding a 5 percent "preference" for local businesses that bid on state contracts. The preference would deduct 5 percent from the bid, giving the Hawaii business an edge.
He also wants to shorten the time period allowed for bid protests to be decided.
"It's going to shove money out the door faster into jobs," he said.
McKelvey said one reason he was inspired to propose the legislation was because he saw bid protests hold up improvements to the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor for years.
* Ilima Loomis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.