Budget bill passes with funds for multiple Maui County projects

The Maui News

The Senate and House of Representatives’ money committees have approved the state budget bill, which includes funding for Maui hospital expansion, a new school in Central Maui and axis deer management.

The bill includes an operating budget of $8.7 billion in general funds and $16.9 billion through all methods of funding for fiscal year 2023, along with a capital improvement projects budget of $6 billion for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 and $48.9 million in grants-in-aid, according to a news release from the state Legislature on Wednesday.

“The state’s financial forecast looks bright as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “With the economy rebounding, the Legislature is able to be strategic and forward-thinking while also providing much-needed funding for projects and initiatives that aim to address some of Hawaii’s most critical issues.”

Funding for Maui County-related issues in the operating and capital improvements project budget includes:

• $45 million for improvements to terminals and facilities at Kahului Airport.

• $24.1 million for Maui Memorial Medical Center renovations, expansion and improvements.

• $20 million for a new elementary and middle school in Central Maui.

• $9 million for Kalaupapa settlement for health and safety improvements and compliance projects.

• $8.9 million for the Maui Health System.

• $4 million for a vocational technology center at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

• $2.4 million for increasing costs of utilities, safety, maintenance and janitorial supplies at Kahului, Molokai, Lanai and Kapalua airports.

• $1.6 million for Maui and Kauai emergency medical services.

• $1.3 million to the state Department of Agriculture to assist the agricultural industry with initiatives, including aid with the increasing axis deer population, primarily on the Neighbor Islands. Another $1.2 million will go to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for three positions for axis deer mitigation.

• $1.1 million for increasing costs of utilities, security services and maintenance at state harbors including Kahului, Kaunakakai and Kaumalapau.

Other big-ticket budget items for statewide projects include $256 million for state Department of Education repair and maintenance projects, $189.4 million for airfield improvements, $155.5 million for rehabilitation or replacement of state highways bridges and $115.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to construct and deploy broadband infrastructure.

Another $32.5 million would go to the DOE’s operating budget to address several areas, including concerns over difficulty staffing certain geographical locations, retaining and recruiting teachers for special education and providing Hawaiian language immersion for students.

The budget also allocates $10 million toward funding a stored property and debris removal program to clean up unauthorized encampments on state lands and store important belongings. Last year this program cleaned up nearly 12 million pounds of waste, with more expected in coming years due to economic difficulties.


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