$14.3 Million for Disaster Relief and Recovery - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

$14.3 Million for Disaster Relief and Recovery

(KHNL)  Governor Lingle and state lawmakers were moving quickly Monday to appropriate $14.3 million dollars to deal with the aftermath of heavy rains on O'ahu and Kaua'i.

The funding request includes, but is not limited to, $5 million for the assessments of dams statewide, $4 million for highway repairs and $2 million for civil defense operations. It's money that lawmakers said is needed immediately.

"The big focus will be on clean-up and definitely getting things back to normalcy. So the emergency appropriation is very important right now statewide. Not only Kauai but statewide," said Rep. Hermina Morita of Kaua'i.

The money would be used to cover the cost of recovery efforts, inspections of dams and reservoirs statewide, clean-up of debris and damage assessments at other state facilities.

The request also includes $1 million dollars for the state Attorney General's office, which is conducting an investigation into the cause of the Kaloko dam failure. Part of the money would be used to hire consultants and experts to review legal issues related to dam and reservoir failures.

"The government needs to move as fast and quickly as possible right now," said Rep. Marcus Oshiro, House Majority Leader.

"We understand there's some storms headed our way right now and any delay further life and property in danger," Oshiro said. "So we need to do all we can to move ahead with this bill."

When all is said and done, it's possible and even likely the state will have to commit even more money to deal with this disaster.

The storm damage raised questions about dams and reservoirs statewide - and lawmakers say they use the rest of the legislative session to look for answers.

"In my view it wasn't a problem of the dams not being inspected," Morita said. "It was a problem of the monitoring system working."

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