The Time Is Right to Invest in Hawaii

By Senator Brickwood Galuteria, Senate Majority Leader
Senator David Y. Ige, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means
Senator Michelle N. Kidani, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Oversees Capital Improvement Projects for the Senate

The time to invest in Hawaii’s future is now.  The Hawaii State Senate firmly believes this as evidenced by its recent unanimous and bipartisan passage of The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012, Senate Bill 2012.  This measure is an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package that will create jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the State and can become available as soon as it is passed out of the House and the Governor signs the bill.

The need for capital improvements authorized by Senate Bill 2012 is great.  There is a backlog of over $1 billion in repair and maintenance projects for aging State facilities, from schools to hospitals. The measure aims to significantly reduce the repair and maintenance backlog list at 225 schools statewide and all 10 University of Hawaii campuses. The improvements will extend the useful life of State facilities and put people to work right away by fixing roofs and windows, and other basic essential repairs. The investment now will far outweigh the cost in the future, mitigating the need to fund replacements and reducing other future maintenance costs.

Making improvements to our State facilities now is cost effective. With Hawaii currently experiencing the lowest interest rates in recorded history, significant savings have accrued from the State’s most recent bond issuance.  Additionally, many bids for construction work are coming in significantly below budget.  According to an assessment from the University of Hawaii, repair and maintenance bids have come in about 18 percent below what was estimated over the past six months. This means taxpayers are currently getting an excellent value for construction projects now being implemented.

Another top priority of the bill is to develop sustainable and renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology.  Investing in renewable energy and upgrades to information technology initiatives throughout schools, hospitals and office buildings will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint. For example, photovoltaic projects currently underway at 15 Kauai schools are expected to save the Department of Education an estimated $30 million over the life of the project while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Among the significant benefits of addressing the capital improvement needs contemplated in Senate Bill 2012 are the thousands of jobs that will be created for our unemployed and under-employed workers. While our economy is showing signs of stabilization, the unemployment rate is still high, at over six percent.  The construction industry has been particularly hit hard during the recession.  Hundreds of workers have been without a job for years. In Kona, times have been tough for 85 percent of its union members. Many are financially strapped; some face foreclosure.   Their counterparts statewide share in their struggles.

The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 will give a big boost to the economy and put people to work by appropriating funds for shovel-ready jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants.  Small and large companies would be able to bid on jobs through an expedited State procurement process.  According to estimates by DBEDT’s job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.   That means jobs that will put money in workers’ pockets, which will in turn mean spending in our local economy.

This bill will benefit everyone as it gets our economic engine running again.  The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 creates a win-win situation for all.  The time is now to invest in Hawaii for our future.

 

Senate Passes The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012

HONOLULU–  The Senate unanimously passed The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 2012) today.  The bill will go to the House next for consideration.

Garnering bipartisan support, Senate Bill 2012, is an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package aimed at creating jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the state.

We are proud of this legislation, which has united all members of the Senate,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.  “This bill will get our economic engine going and create much-needed jobs that will get thousands of people off the bench and back to work.”

With Hawaii experiencing the lowest interest rates on record and significant savings made from the State’s most recent bond authorization and issuance, now is the time to invest in our State. The program will appropriate funds for shovel-ready projects that will create jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants.  According to conservative estimates by the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s (DBEDT) job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.

We have an opportunity to address long-standing needs in a cost effective manner.  Interest rates are at an historic low and bids for contracted work are currently coming in at discounted rates,” said Senator David Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.  “The convergence of these factors makes now the opportune time to make an aggressive investment in our state’s infrastructure.”

Projects under consideration will focus on repair and maintenance needs to address aging infrastructure concerns and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities.  It will also include those that address health and safety code concerns.  A portion of Governor Abercrombie’s $300 million request for construction projects that are shovel-ready or address repair and maintenance concerns are funded by the measure.

The State departments currently identified as part of the Program are:  the Department of Education, including the State Public Library System; the University of Hawaii, including athletic facilities; the Department of Accounting and General Services; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Defense; the Department of Health, and health care facilities of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, the Department of Human Services; the Department of Land and Natural Resources; the Department of Public Safety and the Judiciary.  Funding will be allocated depending on each department’s needs and ability to commence work immediately.

Here are highlights of the funding:

–$150,000,000 for repair and maintenance projects and to address infrastructure needs, such as science and technology, electricity, and other utility infrastructure improvements, within the public school system.

–$3,000,000 for repair and maintenance projects within the Hawaii State Library system.

–$90,000,000 for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

–$25,000,000 for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects within the University of Hawaii community college system.

–$60,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

–$40,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Department of Human Services.

–$40,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

Another priority of the bill is to develop sustainable and renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology.  Investing in renewable energy and upgrades to information technology initiatives throughout schools, hospitals, and office buildings will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint.

In order to expedite the backlog of repair and maintenance projects, Senate Bill 2012 makes revisions to the State’s permitting, approval and procurement processes.  As a result, the accelerated processes will expedite the creation of jobs and facilitate the return to work for many of our residents.

This measure means that badly needed repairs and deferred maintenance projects that many state facilities have waited years to do can finally be given the green light to proceed.  Passing this legislation now would be an excellent way for us to create the needed jobs for our unemployed trade workers.  All companies, including small businesses, are encouraged to register with the State Procurement Office’s online system in order to be eligible to bid on projects,” said Senator Michelle Kidani, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and oversees Capital Improvements Projects for the Senate.   “The process is fair and transparent with bids posted publicly for everyone to see.”

If the measure passes the House and the Governor approves the bill, projects could begin immediately.

For more information on the bill:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

Senate Committee on Ways and Means Passes The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012

HONOLULU–  The Senate Committee on Ways and Means today passed The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012, Senate Bill 2012, out of committee with amendments.  The bill will go before the full Senate for a floor vote next week.

Garnering bipartisan support, Senate Bill 2012, is an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package aimed at creating jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the state.

My colleagues and I felt that we wanted to do a flagship bill to put people back to work.  We felt that the best way to do it was to take projects that were already on the books, such as deferred repair and maintenance type projects that the departments had wanted for years and get them done.  We take care of the facilities and at the same time, put people back to work,” said Senator Michelle Kidani, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and oversees Capital Improvements Projects for the Senate.

With Hawaii experiencing the lowest interest rates on record and significant savings made from the State’s most recent bond authorization and issuance, now is the time to invest in our State. The program will appropriate funds for shovel-ready jobs projects that will create jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants.  According to conservative estimates by the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s (DBEDT) job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.

We have an opportunity to address long-standing needs in a cost effective manner.  Interest rates are at a historic low and bids for contracted work are currently coming in at discounted rates,” said Senator David Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.  “The convergence of these factors makes now the opportune time to make an aggressive investment in our state’s infrastructure.”

Projects under consideration will focus on repair and maintenance needs to address aging infrastructure concerns and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities.  Projects will include those that address health and safety code concerns.  The State departments currently identified as part of the Program are:  the Department of Education, including the State Public Library System; the University of Hawaii, including athletic facilities; the Department of Accounting and General Services; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Defense; the Department of Health, and health care facilities of the Hawaii Health Systems, the Department of Human Services; the Department of Land and Natural Resources; the Department of Public Safety and the Judiciary.  Funding will be allocated depending on department needs and ability to commence work immediately.

Here are highlights of the funding:

–$150,000,000 for repair and maintenance projects and to address infrastructure needs, such as science and technology, electricity, and other utility infrastructure improvements, within the public school system.

–$3,000,000 for repair and maintenance projects within the Hawaii State Library system.

–$90,000,000 for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

–$25,000,000 for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects within the University of Hawaii community college system.

–$60,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

–$40,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Department of Human Services.

–$40,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

Another priority of the bill is to develop sustainable and renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology.  Investing in renewable energy and upgrades to information technology initiatives throughout schools, hospitals, and office buildings will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint.

In order to expedite the backlogged repair and maintenance projects, Senate Bill 2012 makes revisions to the State’s permitting, approval and procurement process.  As a result, the accelerated process will expedite the creation of jobs and facilitate the return to work for many of our residents.

If the measure passes the House and the Governor approves the bill, projects could begin immediately.

For more information on the bill:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

WAM Vice Chair Michelle Kidani explains the Fiscal Biennium 2012-2013 CIP

WAM Vice Chair Michelle Kidani worked hard on the Capital Improvement Program budget-prioritizing health, safety and education projects totaling $1.469B in GO/GOR bonds.

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