Legislators proposing $100M aid package for storm-ravaged Kauai
State lawmakers on Wednesday proposed a $100 million emergency aid package for the storm-damaged island of Kauai.
The proposal was inserted into a state Senate bill Wednesday afternoon during a conference committee hearing, allowing it to head immediately for final votes in both House and Senate and, should it be approved in both chambers, to Governor’s Ige's desk for signing.
"These are the upfront funds that are going to be needed to address the rockslides, mudslides, to remake Kuhio Highway from Waikoko to Wainiha two lanes because right now it's inaccessible," said state Rep. Nadine Nakamura (D-Hanalei, Anahola, Wailua).
Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho was at the state capitol on Wednesday to seek emergency funds, which he would be able to spend on relief efforts as soon as the bill is signed.
"Our people are isolated in one part of our island, so it's very difficult to assure that we can assemble the team and provide the resources," Carvalho told Hawaii News Now. "This funding, it's going to be available immediately, to assure that the kids can get to school, assure that kupuna can get their medical supplies and whatever they need."
Lawmakers are also proposing $25 million for flood relief efforts across other parts of the state.
It’s expected that the money from the proposed aid packages would eventually be reimbursed by the federal government after President Trump agrees to sign an emergency declaration.
"Because FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funds are not available immediately, what Kauai really needs is an immediate infusion of funds so that they can start the cleanup and they can start with infrastructure," said state Rep. Sylvia Luke, chair of the House Finance Committee.
The money would likely go toward the cleaning up of extensive damage and debris across multiple Kauai communities, as well as the repair of essential state and county facilities, including roads and bridges.
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