Measure extends disaster relief appropriations following disastrous 2018 flooding
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –At a community celebration and blessing for the reopening of Hāʻena State Park Wednesday, Governor David Ige signed a bill introduced by Representative Nadine K. Nakamura to extend disaster relief funds for areas affected by the disastrous 2018 floods.
HB329 HD1 SD2 amends the Kaua‘i flooding disaster relief appropriation made in Act 12, Session Laws of Hawai‘i 2018. The new bill extends the lapse date of the appropriation to June 30, 2020 and allows funds to be used for mitigation.
“This one-year extension gives the State, the County of Kauai, and the City and County of Honolulu one additional year to continue the important work of rebuilding more resilient communities,” said Rep. Nakamura (Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Kapaʻa, Wailuā).
The April 2018 rainfall set a national record. The resulting floods damaged or destroyed more than 330 homes and disrupted the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of residents.
House and Senate lawmakers, spurred on by the need to provide immediate funding for Kaua‘i devastated by the flooding, passed SB192 SD1 HD1 CD1 to provide $100 million in relief for stricken communities on Kaua‘i, East O‘ahu and Waimānalo.
Flood-damaged Kūhiō Highway on Kaua‘i's North Shore has been closed for more than a year causing major disruptions in business, tourism and residents' lives. The highway will officially reopen later this month.
On Wednesday, residents, emergency responders, construction workers, and public officials gathered with song and prayer to celebrate the reopening of Hāʻena State Park, the start of the North Shore Shuttle and soon, the opening of Kūhiō Highway.
Developed with community input, a new Hāʻena State Park plan caps the number of visitors to Hāʻena Beach Park to 900 a day and limited parking will be available by online reservation, Rep. Nakamura said. A community-run shuttle system will also help ease traffic on the busy highway.
Rep. Sylvia Luke, Chair of the House Finance Committee, said in emergency situations it takes everyone working together to first protect lives and property and then to rebuild stricken communities.
"Working with your Kauai delegation and the Governor we were able to get the emergency funding to provide immediate relief," said Luke at the event. "But you are the ones who endured the disruption in your lives. I'd like to echo representative Nakashima's acknowledgment and gratitude for the community members who worked tirelessly on the recovery efforts, and to make sure that in putting this beautiful place back together again, we made sure to do it right."
House Vice Speaker Rep. Mark M. Nakashima said lawmakers visited the area soon after the floods and knew they had to act quickly.
"After the flooding, Rep. Nakamura flew home to assess the situation and appealed to her colleagues to provide assistance. The legislature moved quickly to provide $100 million to provide an immediate infusion of capital to allow Kauai to immediately begin to address repairs," said Rep. Nakashima.