$30M pricetag to renovate water features at the state Capitol raises eyebrows

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Updated: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A $30 million price tag to renovate the state Capitol pond may be too much for lawmakers to swallow, especially with the state facing a massive budget shortfall.

State Comptroller Curt Otaguro asked lawmakers for $17.5 million this year and $12.5 million next year to fix the pond, which has been leaking water into the Capitol basement for years.

“You see paint rusting. There’s some things coming through the electrical lighting which is of concern so we shut down those areas,” said Otaguro.

“Some of drips ... exposed the new carpet that was installed last year.”

The state recently patched some of the cracks but it wants a longer term solution. The $30 million will go toward a structural and architectural rehabilitation of the pond, the state said.

“I realize that this is probably the worst time to ask for any kind of funding. But I would say first that this is the state’s Capitol and we have a responsibility to maintain it,” Otaguro said.

Although lawmakers recognize the need to fix the problem, they said it’s going to be difficult to find that kind of money during a pandemic

The state is facing a projected $1.4 billion shortfall and lawmakers said efforts to combat the virus and boost Hawaii’s economy will take priority.

“As everybody knows, funds are going to be extremely tight this year, especially funds for construction projects,” said House Speaker Scott Saiki.

“There has to be a really high health and safety priority.”

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