Funds for water infrastructure improvements go unspent

Funds for water infrastructure improvements go unspent

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii is at risk of losing federal water infrastructure improvement funds if the state doesn't start lending the money to counties more efficiently.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the state projects repair costs over the next 20 years at about $1 billion, while about $100 million in federally matched funds went unspent by the end of last year.

Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 water division director Michael Montgomery said the state needs to either "get it together" or risk losing funds to other states.

An EPA review found the fund wasn't adequately staffed by the Department of Health, and Montgomery says the state ranks among the worst nationally in utilizing the money.

The health department is working to retain funding by implementing EPA-approved corrective actions over the next two years.

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