$23 million secured for realignment of Honoapiʻilani from Ukumehame to Launiupoko

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) secured $23 million in congressionally directed spending, for highway improvements on Maui.

The new earmark funding will be used to realign 4.5 miles of Honoapi‘ilani Highway from Ukumehame to Launiupoko to make it safer and more resilient to the impacts of coastal erosion and climate change.  

The bill passed the Senate on Thursday and was signed into law by the president on Friday.

Honoapiʻilani Hwy. PC: file Maui Now

“This $23 million earmark will directly benefit Maui and help strengthen Honoapi‘ilani Highway against coastal erosion. That means a safer, more reliable highway for people to travel on in West Maui,” said Senator Schatz, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation.

“Mahalo nui to Senator Schatz for this urgent and crucial appropriation to improve Honoapi‘ilani Highway, which is a critical link between West and Central Maui,” said Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino. “The people of Maui County deeply appreciate this federal assistance because sea level rise impacts island people first.”

The funding follows a $22 million grant Schatz helped secure for the highway in November.

The new congressionally directed funding in this year’s appropriations bill marks the first year members of Congress were able to make earmark requests since they were banned in 2011. Schatz secured more than $240 million in federal earmarks for local nonprofits and state and local agencies.

Other earmarks include $8.8 million to support planning and design for a new permanent facility for the Air Force Research Lab in Kīhei; and $3 million for Hale Makua Health Services to support the expansion of the skilled nursing facility and address the growing need for short-term rehabilitation services for seniors. 

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