Governor releases Capital Improvement Plan - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Governor releases Capital Improvement Plan

Perry Artates Perry Artates

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Governor Linda Lingle released details Monday on her plan to stimulate the economy and create local jobs.

Her proposal is to get statewide public construction projects going, and cut any potential red tape to avoid delays.

The idea is to roll out the projects efficiently, to generate more jobs and money .

From repairs to full-scale renovations, Governor Lingle is focusing on public infrastructure improvements to help Hawaii survive the economic crisis.

It's welcome relief for labor leaders, who say the recession has taken a toll on their members.

"When we say Mele Kalikimaka, the membership says to you, 'What's so merry? And what's so happy without work? Because I'm losing my home, I don't work anymore'," said Perry Artates, Executive Director of Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund.

Construction industry execs say this recession is worse than the last.

"During that time our membership had the opportunity to go out of state to places like Las Vegas and Nevada to work but unlike that recession in the 90's, the global recession we're in right now does not provide those same opportunities," said Kyle Chock, Executive Director of Pacific Resource Partnership, which represents carpenters and their unions.

The Governor's plan targets 1,521 capital improvement projects worth $1.8 billion dollars. The goal is to start construction within 12 to 18 months.

"This isn't new monies coming in, this is money we already have and we want to get those jobs out there," said Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

"It's all about jobs. really, the bottom line effort is getting employment, getting our people working," said Barry Fukunaga, the Governor's Chief of Staff.

The public can check the status of the projects on the Governor's website.

"It's a public report card. It's people being able to grade us, to judge us week in and week out," said Governor Lingle.

The idea is to put pressure on those responsible for getting the projects done on time.

And with the loss of jobs growing every day, the Governor says timing is key.

The Governor's goal is to streamline the construction process and minimize things like permit delays. This is all part of the Governor's five point-action plan to stimulate the economy.

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