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Abercrombie releases $52.5 million in capital improvement funds

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Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released some $52.5 million in funding for capital improvement projects that will include a interim car rental facility at the Honolulu Airport, an underwater fiber optic cable, an electrical distribution system at Kalaeloa and other projects.

In a statement released on Friday, Abercrombie said each project represents “an investment in the future of Hawaii and our ability to be proactive in shaping our future as a state.”

Most of the funding will be used to finance a short-term loan of $43 million for the construction of a temporary operational area for five car-rental companies that operate at the airport. The overall project is expected to expand the facility for use by eight rental car companies.

According to the governor’s office, the loan is to be paid from “rental motor vehicle customer facility charge special funds provided through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ EB-5 Immigrant Investor program.” The EB-5 program gives green cards to otherwise inadmissable alien families who make short-term, $500,000 investments in the United States. 

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism will receive $2.2 million to plan for a privately managed, shared open-access underwater fiber optic cable land stations. DBEDT will work with the state Department of Defense on the project.

Abercrombie said the fiber optic cable will help the state achieve its goal of providing universal access to affordable, high-speed Internet service by 2018.

“For a state as isolated as our own, high-speed Internet can be transformative, connecting families, businesses and institutions; spurring economic development and innovation; and giving current and future generations a competitive edge,” Abercrombie said.

Other projects receiving funding are the Kalaeloa East Energy Corridor ($3.5 million); Department of Accounting and General Services Information and Communication Services Division radio sites ($2.1 million); the Pohukaina Street Mixed-Use Transit Oriented Development Project ($1.5 million); and the reactivation of the Hawaii island’s Kulani Correctional Facility ($284,177).

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