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Defense, Transportation Funding to Rise in Appropriations Deal

Schatz, a Member of the Appropriations Committee, Calls This “Good News for Hawai‘i”

Washington, D.C. – Today, congressional appropriators released a bipartisan spending deal that will increase federal spending in Hawai‘i for fiscal year 2016.  U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, advanced Hawai‘i priorities during committee consideration this year, which are now reflected in the final deal.  Overall, defense spending in Hawai‘i will increase by more than $200 million, and transportation funding will increase by nearly $10 million.

“I’m pleased we were able to help secure an across-the-board increase in federal investments for Hawai‘i,”
said Senator Schatz.  “I know that people are paying particular attention to defense and transportation, and we did exceptionally well there.”

Military construction in Hawai‘i is fully funded at $444 million.  These important investments are approximately $200 million above last year’s funding level, a reflection that the Department of Defense (DoD) is continuing to invest in the facilities, capabilities, and infrastructure that are necessary in Hawai‘i to support the rebalance to the Asia Pacific.

Hawai‘i highway and transportation funding will increase 13 percent by 2020.  In addition to $250 million for the Honolulu rail project, Hawai‘i is receiving annual increases in funding for roads, bridges, buses, and bike paths to reduce congestion, make our roads safer and our communities more walkable.

Defense and transportation projects include:

Military Construction—$444 million.

  • $123.8 million for a new Behavioral Health and Dental Clinic at Schofield Barracks that will help improve the capacity of the base to help service members get the care they need;
  • $122.1 million to replace a Medical/Dental Clinic at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, which would improve health services for service members and their families;
  • $30.6 million to consolidate the electric grid at Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, a crucial step toward ensuring that the base can manage its load requirements to support Ballistic Missile Defense testing and other Navy missions;
  • $46 million for a new F-22 fighter alert facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to strengthen the readiness of the Hawai‘i Air National Guard;
  • $6.3 million for an electrical interconnect project at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam;
  • $8.5 million for a new covered welding school shop at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard that will permit use even during inclement weather; and
  • A number of additional improvements at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, including $12.4 million for a new facility to support P-8A maritime surveillance aircraft that will rotate through Hawai‘i, $68 million for a new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and $26.1 million to modernize lighting on the airfield.

Clean Energy Research for the Military—$60 million.  Hawai‘i continues to lead in clean energy technology and implementation, which will pay dividends to our state, our economy, and our national security.  This funding supports a number of programs nationwide, such as the Air Force’s planned microgrid testbed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam that will help ensure that the Air National Guard has access to the energy it needs to execute its defense and homeland security missions, while providing a proof of concept that alternative energy and microgrid technologies can support the Air Force's broader energy security goals.  Senator Schatz worked to secure $60 million in funding for military alternative energy, which was not part of the President’s budget.

Energy Conservation Investment Program—$150 million.  Funding supports a number of DoD energy conservation projects, including: a $13.78 million smart grid industrial control system at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam; a $5.74 million car port solar array at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay; and $1.066 million for LED lighting and controls in seven clinics at Schofield Barracks.

High Performance Computing Modernization Program—$222.2 million.  Funding supports DoD’s regional supercomputing centers, including the Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC).  Working with Committee leaders, Senator Schatz was able to increase funding for the program by $45 million above the President’s budget to ensure that DoD has the funding it needs to upgrade the technology at MHPCC so that it can continue to support the military’s current and future high performance computing needs in Hawai‘i and the Pacific.

Environmental Restoration on Formerly Used Defense Sites—$231.2 million.  Funding supports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ continued efforts to identify and remove unexploded ordnance at former military sites across the neighbor islands and ensure that military training and activities remain in balance with Hawai‘i’s local needs.  Senator Schatz worked to secure an additional $27.5 million above the President’s budget.

DoD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative program—$75 million.  Funding helps to promote conservation near military installations, including those in Hawai‘i.  The $75 million includes a $14.75 million increase that Senator Schatz was able to secure above the President’s budget request.

Maui Space Surveillance System—$12.9 million.  Funding to support DoD programs that help track, identify, and characterize space objects of interest, including the Dynamic Optical Telescope System.

Honolulu Rail Transit Project-–$250 million.  Funding brings total federal investment in this project to $1.3 billion to date.  When completed, rail will provide another option for people in Honolulu to travel to work, school, recreation and to visit friends and family.

Highway and transportation alternatives funding—$171.6 million.  Hawai‘i will see an increase every year through 2020 with a nearly 13 percent increase over this year’s funding level. Funding is distributed from the Highway Trust Fund to Hawai‘i for highway maintenance and new construction of bridges, roads, and bike and pedestrian paths.  This is a 4.7 percent increase from 2015. 

Bus and Transit Funding—$42.2 million.  This a 2.7 percent increase from 2015.  Funding is distributed among the state and counties for the operation and capital costs associated with operation of public transit.  Hawai‘i is on track to see transit increases over each of the next 5 years.

Other highlights for Hawai‘i include:

East-West Center—$16.7 million.  The East-West Center directly supports the U.S. rebalance to the Asia Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue with countries in the region.  It is the only U.S. institution that provides a multilateral approach to learning through research and exchange programs.  Senator Schatz secured an increase of $5.9 million above the President's budget request.

Native Hawaiian Health Care—$13.7 million.
Many Native Hawaiian families face geographical, cultural, and financial barriers that make it difficult for them to access existing health services.  Native Hawaiian Health Centers, run through the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems (NHHCS) program, provide critical access to health education, promotion, disease prevention, and basic primary care services for thousands of Native Hawaiians enrolled in the NHHCS programs.  This funding will support five health centers on Hawai‘i Island, Kauai, Molokai, Maui, and Oahu.

Native Hawaiian Education—$50.4 million. Funding supports Native Hawaiian elementary and secondary education programs provided under the Native Hawaiian Education Act; and, higher education programs established under Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, and the Alaska Native-Serving and the Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Competitive Grants Program.  Native Hawaiian education programs help strengthen Native Hawaiian culture, increase community cohesion, sustain and advance Native Hawaiian language learning and literacy, improve levels of educational attainment, and enhance family and community involvement in education – all of which  have been directly correlated with social and economic outcomes.  Senator Schatz helped secure increases in funding for Native Hawaiian education programs above last year’s funding level.

National Parks and Monuments including Honouliuli National Monument —$511 million (nationwide). Funding will support new national monuments, including the Honouliuli National Monument, the site of the largest internment camp in Hawai’i for Japanese and European Americans and others during World War II. Senator Schatz worked with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, the Japanese American Citizens League, the National Park Service, and Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell to help facilitate Honouliuli’s historic designation, which officially became a National Historic Monument in February 2015.

Land and Water Conservation—$17.6 million. Funding will support federal land acquisition and conservation efforts by the Fish and Wildlife Service at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, the National Park Service at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and the U.S. Forest Service at Helemano Wilderness Area.

Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program—$14.7 million. The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program provides funding to coastal states for preparedness activities such as inundation mapping, disaster planning, and tsunami education.  Using these funds, Hawai‘i was one of the first states in the nation to be declared Tsunami Ready. Senator Schatz fought to restore funding to the program following the Administration’s budget proposal to eliminate it.