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Hawaii’s bite of omnibus package: $387M


Hawaii will receive $387,072,035 for an array of critical initiatives including building and repairing roads, diversifying transportation options, refurbishing schools, expanding curriculums, funding scientific research, protecting endangered species and habitats, and subsidizing the work of law enforcement, Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel K. Inouye announced.

The money for Hawaii projects is part of a consolidated appropriations bill accounting for the needs of nine federal agencies that had to pass before a stopgap funding measure expires Dec. 18.

The “mini-bus” spending bill includes $447 billion for federal agency operating budgets and $600 billion for benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid.  The bill combines six appropriations bills for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The conference report passed 57 to 35 with Inouye and Sen. Daniel K. Akaka voting in favor.  It now goes to the president for his expected signature.

“I’m pleased that we finally reached consensus on how best to fund government operations. Dwindling state and county tax revenue spurred by the global recession and plummeting visitor arrivals has led to dramatic spending cuts at the local level and forced many out of work,” Inouye said. “This much needed infusion of federal capital will help push construction projects toward completion and create much needed jobs. This money helps subsidize social services and health care for working families and those in need. It creates research and development opportunities in many scientific fields and enhances opportunities for students and teachers.  Our local economy needs all the federal assistance it can get.”

The legislation provides vital resources that will benefit Hawaii, Akaka said, including $30 million to assist with the development of Honolulu rail and additional resources for neighbor island buses.

“It supports our troops by providing the modern facilities and upgrades our men and women in uniform need. It helps struggling working families with programs that provide essential social services, housing, and job training programs. It provides substantial resources for health care services, education, crime prevention and youth activities, and $23 million for the internationally renowned East-West Center,” Sen Daniel Akaka said.

“It will protect and study our fragile marine life and valuable fisheries and monitor natural hazards such as tsunamis,” he said. “I am particularly proud of a pilot program we included that will provide financial education and pre-homeownership counseling to Hawaii residents to help prepare prospective homeowners to be better able to purchase a home, select an appropriate mortgage product, and increase the likelihood that families will be able to remain in their homes.”

The spending bill covers Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, State and Foreign Operations, the Treasury and Veterans Affairs.

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