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Senate passes Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012


The Senate unanimously passed The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 2012) on Tuesday. 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,” Senate President Shan Tsutsui said. “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 Sen. 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 Gov. Neil 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 Sen. 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.

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