House and Senate lawmakers today agreed to set aside $100 million to help finance the Kauai flood recovery effort and $25 million to speed the Oahu recovery, money that can be made available quickly until federal relief funding is available.
An emotional Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho told reporters he was “a bit overwhelmed, because I was there from Day 1, and saw a lot of the people are having a hard time.” The appropriation could be signed into law by Gov. David Ige as early as this week.
“Our people are isolated on a part of our island, so it’s very difficult to assure that we can assemble the team and provide the resources,” Carvalho said, his voice cracking with emotion.
“This funding is going to be available immediately to assure that the kids can get to school, to assure that kupuna can get their medical supplies and what they need, and to assure that we can service not just this part of the island but the whole island,” he said.
That reference was to the North Shore of Kauai, but “other parts of the island have been devastated as well,” he said.
The money from the appropriation in Senate Bill 192 would be used for public facilities repairs including roads, bridges, county parks and other infrastructure that was damaged in the severe flooding on Kauai, and would be routed through the state Department of Defense.
Gov. David Ige also announced today he made $500,000 available immediately to finance emergency activities in response to the flooding, and $10 million to help to open roadways.
State Rep. Nadine Nakamura, (D, Hanalei-Princeville-Kapaa), said preliminary estimates put the damage to state highways alone at $20 million to $25 million, and that does not include extensive damage to county roads in Hanalei and other areas.
No other specific damage estimates were available, but Nakamura cited extensive flooding damage to parks, public restrooms, schools and other facilities.