Maui Now : Rep. Gabbard Backs Legislation that Funds Hawai‘i’s Water Infrastructure
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawai‘i voted to pass bipartisan legislation that strengthens and upgrades water-related infrastructure in Hawai‘i and across the country.
The Water Resources Development Act of 2018 would authorize federal funding of $199 million for flood risk management in the Ala Wai watershed in Hawai‘i.
The legislation also provides $62.5 million for small river and harbor improvement projects in Hawai‘i and Pacific island territories.
That’s an increase of $12.5 million since 2014, the last time the legislation was authorized.
The measure passed on Wednesday by a vote of 408-2.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:
“This legislation is a bright light of bipartisanship that is sorely needed by communities like mine in Hawai‘i and those in Florida, as well. There’s nothing more necessary and basic to life than water. Strengthening and upgrading our water infrastructure is critical to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of communities all across the country. Those like mine who are surrounded by water and those in our coastal communities, are acutely aware of the dire need for investment. For example, in Hawai‘i we rely on our ports for the vast majority of the basic needs and supplies that we have to ship in for our residents. We have also experienced historic floods in Hawai‘i recently, exposing the urgent need for investment in water infrastructure.
“Risk experts in Hawai‘i have warned that the Ala Wai watershed’s high vulnerability to devastating flooding could result in financial devastation to the tune of over $1.1 billion and damaging more than 3,000 structures, what to speak of the fact that the area is home to over 150,000 residents and over 80,000 visitors every day. This bipartisan legislation will secure critical funding for flood risk management both on the Ala Wai Canal, other places in Hawai’i, and across the country, helping to provide the necessary safety and security for our residents. This is a critical piece of bipartisan legislation that deserves the support of Congress. Let’s take this opportunity to better the lives of our constituents and residents across the country by strengthening our national infrastructure and ensuring clean and safe drinking water for all.”