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Schatz: Federal Funding For Hawai‘i Continues To Increase

Bill Includes More Than Half A Billion Dollars In New Earmark Funding Secured By Schatz; Also Includes New And Increased Funding To Shut Down Red Hill, Strengthen Housing, Health Care, Education Programs In Hawai‘i

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate passed the annual government funding bill which will increase federal funding for critical programs that benefit Hawai‘i. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), worked with his colleagues on the committee to successfully secure new and increased federal funding for Hawai‘i’s priorities.

“We continue to see big increases in federal funding for Hawai‘i. This appropriations bill will give our state funding to grow our local economy, improve roads and public transit, protect our environment, and strengthen housing, education, and health care programs,” said Senator Schatz, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

The bill provides new funding for the Honolulu Rail Project and to defuel and shut down the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility. It also will increase funding for transportation, housing, and clean energy projects, as well as Native Hawaiian health and education programs. The bill also includes more than a half a billion dollars in new earmark funding secured by Senator Schatz – more than double the amount he delivered to Hawai‘i last year.

The bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by the president by the end of the week.

FUNDING HIGHLIGHTS FOR HAWAI‘I:

Red Hill Recovery Fund – $1 billion, new funding. The Red Hill Recovery Fund will enable the Navy and Joint Task Force Red Hill to effectively defuel and shut down the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility. The leak that contaminated the Navy’s public water system and neighboring communities affected thousands of residents. This funding will aim to also support the DoD’s ability to comply with the standards set in place by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health (HDOH) which include the necessary oversight and improvements required to ensure that the facility is successfully defueled and closed. The Red Hill Recovery Fund will support ongoing environmental monitoring and health remediation efforts and provide the resources required to enable the DoD to responsibly close the facility by approved timelines as set forth by HDOH.

Red Hill Water Treatment Facility – $25 million, new funding. This funding allows the Navy to conduct initial planning and design activities to explore the feasibility of a potential water treatment and distribution facility, if necessary, for the Red Hill shaft.

Native Hawaiian Education – $46 million, a $7 million increase from last year, which includes $10 million set aside for facility construction, renovation, and modernization. This funding supports programs that strengthen Native Hawaiian culture, improve levels of educational attainment, and enhance family and community involvement in education. Senator Schatz included a provision to allow funds to be used for construction, renovation, and modernization of public schools that predominantly serve Native Hawaiian students.

Native Hawaiian Health Care – $27 million, a $5 million increase from last year. Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems, as part of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Program, provide critical access to health education, promotion, disease prevention, and basic primary care services for thousands of Native Hawaiians. This funding will support five health centers on Hawai‘i Island, Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu, and Papa Ola Lōkahi.

Native Hawaiian Housing – $22.3 million. As Chairman of both the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing, Senator Schatz worked to secure funding for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program, which provides financial assistance for Native Hawaiian families to obtain new homes, make renovations, build community facilities, and receive housing services, including counseling, financial literacy and other critical resources to address housing disparities. This year’s funding level preserves last year’s historic $20.3 million increase from the status quo.

Native Hawaiian Resource Center on Domestic Violence – $2 million, a $1 million increase from last year. The Domestic Violence Resource Network, funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will establish a new state resource center dedicated to reducing disparities and strengthening domestic violence intervention and prevention efforts for Native Hawaiians.

Affordable Housing and Community Development – $72.1 billion (nationwide), a $6.5 billion increase over last year. As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, Senator Schatz fought to secure the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) funding, which includes Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, Project-Based Vouchers, Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing, Public Housing, and Housing for Persons with AIDS. Funding also includes:

  • $6 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program which provides funding for economic and community development projects that benefit low- and moderate-income households.
  • $85 million in new funding for the Yes In My Backyard Incentive Grant Program. This funding, part of the overall CDBG amount, establishes a new federal grant program to reward state, local, and regional jurisdictions that adopt land-use policies that will ultimately increase the supply of affordable housing.

Bus and Transit – $16.7 billion (nationwide). This funding is distributed among states and counties for the operation and capital costs associated with public transit systems, including the Maui Bus, TheBus, Kaua‘i Bus, Hele-On Bus, and TheHandi-Van fleets. This amount also includes competitive grant funding. As part of the overall amount, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit is receiving nearly $64 million to speed the completion of the light rail project.

Energy Transitions Initiative – $15 million, a $5 million increase from last year. This program helps remote and island communities design their own clean energy and resilience solutions to address high energy costs and reliability issues, with help from world-class U.S. Department of Energy experts. In 2022, the program gave awards to the University of Hawai‘i and Hui o Hau‘ula, a community organization on O‘ahu. In 2021, the program gave awards to Kaua‘i and Honolulu. $15 million in funding increases the size of the program by 50 percent, and report language directs the Department of Energy to support stakeholder engagement and capacity building through regional project partner organizations, including the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute.

Highway and Transportation – $62.9 billion (nationwide), a $2.3 billion increase over last year. This funding is distributed to states for highway maintenance and new construction of bridges, roads, and bike and pedestrian paths.

Kāneʻohe Pali – $1.8 million, new funding. This funding from the Forest Legacy Program will go towards efforts to protect and preserve the Kāneʻohe Pali, including a priority watershed and one of the largest traditional Hawaiian agricultural complexes on O‘ahu.

Maunawili Valley – $1.3 million, new funding. This funding from the Forest Legacy Program will go towards efforts to protect and preserve the Maunawili Valley, including the largest wetland in Hawai‘i and many historic and cultural sites.

Haleakalā National Park – $12.9 million, new funding. This funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund will help support projects at Haleakalā National Park.

Haleakalā National Park, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and Kalaupapa National Historical Park – $30.5 million, new funding. Funding from the Legacy Restoration Fund for rehabilitation of fences to protect park resources at Haleakalā National Park, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

Farm to School Grant Program – $14 million, a $2 million increase from last year. Funding supports farm to school activities, which increases access to fresh, nutritious, and locally-produced foods in school systems and early care and education settings while supporting agricultural producers nationwide. Funding from this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program supports the Hawai‘i Department of Education’s efforts to purchase 30 percent locally sourced food by 2030.

Food Security Microgrants – $3.2 million, a $1.2 million increase from last year. This funding will go towards helping individuals and groups in Hawai‘i purchase tools, soil, seeds, plants, animals, composting units, gardening systems, and other necessities for growing and preserving food. The funds can also be used to expand areas under cultivation, extend the growing season, build or repair livestock fencing, travel to agricultural education programs, expand the sale of locally grown crops and meats, and engage in other activities that increase food security.

Native Community Development Capacity Building – $1 million, new funding. This funding from HUD’s Section 4 program is for non-profit organizations to carry out affordable housing and community development activities to support American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native communities.

Native American Language Preservation – $15 million (nationwide), a $1 million increase from last year. This funding supports Native American language preservation activities under the Administration for Native Americans, and includes $6 million for Native American language immersion schools as authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement – an estimated $6.1 million, a $481,000 increase from last year. Funding to build and strengthen the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s abilities to effectively respond to public health threats. This funding level will help restore and maintain capacity at health departments, modernize data systems, and advance laboratory capacity.

Hospital Preparedness Program – an estimated $1.4 million, an $88,370 increase from last year. This program is the primary source of federal funding for health care system preparedness and response. The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response program helps to build coalitions of health care and response organizations to respond to emergencies and disasters.

Immunizations – an estimated $3.6 million, a $432,000 increase from last year. Provides funding to the Hawai‘i Department of Health to purchase vaccines for children, adolescents, and adults. The Section 317 Program helps achieve national immunization coverage targets and reduce disease.

Native American Language Immersion Schools and Program – $12.4 million (nationwide), a $3 million increase from last year. This funding supports the Native American language immersion grant program and the State-Tribal Education Partnership program. Senator Schatz co-authored the legislation to create new grants for Native American immersion schools and programs.

Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native-Serving Institutions – $24 million to Hawai‘i and Alaska, a $3 million increase from last year. This program provides funding and vital support to Hawai‘i’s colleges and universities, enabling them to improve and expand their capacity to serve Native Hawaiian students.

Compact of Free Association Impact – $6 million (nationwide), a $1 million increase from last year. The United States has entered into the Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the governments of the Freely Associated States (FAS), which are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. These Compacts allow FAS citizens to live in the United States and receive certain benefits. This funding will help Hawai‘i provide those benefits to FAS citizens who live and work in the state.

Microgrids for Underserved and Indigenous Communities – $10 million, protected funding for a new program. This funding is for the second year of a coordinated research, development, deployment, and training program focused on microgrid technologies in underserved and Indigenous communities. This program was created last year within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity. It aims to provide replicable microgrid solutions to address the broad array of reliability and price challenges facing remote and island communities throughout the United States. Report language directs the Department of Energy to partner with organizations with specialized experience addressing local energy challenges, including community-based organizations and institutions of higher education, with a priority for minority-serving institutions.

Hansen’s Disease Treatment – $2 million. Funding solely awarded to Hawai‘i for the care and treatment of patients with Hansen’s disease. Though Hansen’s disease is rare and treatable, Hawai‘i has among the highest prevalence in the country. This funding supports the Hawai‘i Department of Health to provide treatment for patients living in Kalaupapa and on O‘ahu.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument – $1.2 million. This funding supports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service to provide competitive education, research, and management grants for existing marine national monuments, including the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

National Estuarine Research Reserve, including He‘eia – $32.5 million (nationwide), a $2.8 million increase from last year. Funding will be shared among system sites, including the He‘eia National Estuarine Research Reserve. This site demonstrates the value of Native Hawaiian taro cultivation and fishpond aquaculture to maintain a healthy ecosystem. It is viewed by NOAA to be a model site because of its seamless integration of science and culture.

Endangered Hawaiian Marine Species Protection – $12 million, a $750,000 increase from last year. $4.6 million in funding will continue to support conservation and recovery of monk seals, the only seal species in the world that lives in only one nation's territorial waters, with research on vaccination and disease prevention (morbillivirus and toxoplasmosis). $5.6 million in funding will support sea turtle conservation activities such as continued monitoring of endangered turtle populations and the impacts of habitat loss. $1.375 million in funding will support investigations into interactions between fisheries and false killer whales. $375,000 will be dedicated to state-led conservation activities.

Coffee Leaf Rust Research – $1.2 million (nationwide). This funding will support development of science-based management strategies, extension services, and research on varieties of coffee that are resistant to coffee leaf rust.

Macadamia Nut Health Initiative – $1 million. This funding will support research to combat and control the felted macadamia nut coccid to improve the production of this iconic Hawaiian crop.

Japanese American Confinement Sites, including Hono‘uli‘uli – $4.6 million (nationwide), a $1.2 million increase from last year. Funding will support Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grants. JACS grants support the preservation of Japanese American internment camps, including the Hono‘uli‘uli National Monument, through partnerships with local preservation groups. Grants may also be used to encourage and support the research, interpretation, and preservation of internment camps to help prevent the injustice of internment from being repeated.

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions – $18 million (nationwide), a $7.5 million increase from last year. This program provides funding and vital support to Hawai‘i’s colleges and universities, enabling them to improve and expand their capacity to serve Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

Center for Indigenous Innovation and Equity – $4 million, a $1 million increase from last year. Funding supports the Office of Minority Health, which funds the University of Hawai‘i, in partnership with other academic institutions, to provide education, service and policy development, and research to advance health equity among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Native Hawaiian populations.

Impact Aid Program – approximately $54 million, a $2 million increase from last year. The estimated Impact Aid funding will provide the Hawai‘i Department of Education with the resources to help finance the education of federally-connected children. Impact Aid funds a range of programs, including efforts to retain highly qualified teachers, adequate technology, facilities renovation, and maintenance of transportation fleets.

DoD Impact Aid Program – $80 million (nationwide), a $10 million increase from last year. The funding provides support to school districts with high concentrations of military students and school districts that enroll children of military families with severe disabilities.

STEM Apprenticeship Grant Program – $2.5 million (nationwide), a $500,000 increase from last year. The funding will continue a new grant program created by Senator Schatz. The program at the Economic Development Administration will help expand and create new apprenticeships in STEM fields. In 2021, the Maui Economic Development Board received $300,000 from this program; the 2022 awardees have not yet been announced. Senator Schatz introduced the legislation creating the program, which was signed into law in 2017 as part of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act.

Geographically Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers – $4 million (nationwide), a $1 million increase from last year. This funding reimburses geographically disadvantaged producers in Hawai‘i, Alaska, and insular areas with a portion of the cost to transport agricultural commodities or inputs used to produce an agricultural commodity.

Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Program – $69 million (nationwide), a $3 million increase from last year. Funding supports community-driven, evidence-informed, and culturally-tailored programs to address the root causes of chronic disease in communities by focusing on interventions that improve nutrition, increase physical activity, promote tobacco-free living, and support linkages between community-based and clinical services.

Minority Centers of Excellence – $28 million (nationwide), a $4 million increase from last year. Funding supports the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence at the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine to prioritize education and training for Native Hawaiians to enter and successfully complete a health professions education. The program also supports research and community partnerships that build the capacity of Native Hawaiian students and faculty to succeed in medicine.

Native American Language Resource Center – $1.5 million (nationwide), a $1 million increase from last year. This funding will continue to support the establishment of a Native American Language Resource Center (NALRC) to provide best practices and curricula development on Native American language education, including the Native Hawaiian language. Senator Schatz has introduced legislation to permanently authorize the NALRC program.

East-West Center – $22 million, a $2.3 million increase from last year. This funding will allow the East-West Center to continue and expand its education, professional development, research, policy dialogue, journalism, and cultural programs throughout the Indo-Pacific. The East-West Center directly supports U.S. engagement in the Indo-Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue with countries in the region.

State of the Birds Research – $4.7 million, a $1 million increase from last year. State of the Birds activities are dedicated to stopping the bird extinction crisis in Hawai‘i. More than 90 Hawaiian bird species have gone extinct, and nine listed Hawaiian bird species are currently in decline. These funds are crucial to prevent further extinctions as climate change, habitat degradation and destruction, and other human and environmental impacts threaten to reach crisis levels.

Species Management Research – $64 million (nationwide), a $23.5 million increase from last year, which includes $500,000 for Hawaiian birds. This funding supports scientific research used to protect, conserve, and enhance wildlife populations. For the first time, this funding includes $500,000 dedicated to responding to the urgent needs of critically endangered Hawaiian forest birds that face imminent extinction.

Coral Reef Conservation – $33.5 million (nationwide), a $500,000 increase from last year. This funding supports NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, which addresses the top threats to coral reef ecosystems in Hawai‘i and across the country. Working with partners, NOAA develops place-based strategies, measures the effectiveness of management efforts, and builds capacity among reef managers globally.

Airport Agricultural Inspections – $35.5 million (nationwide), a $1.7 million increase from last year. In Hawai‘i, this program helps to fund federal agricultural inspectors at airports on Kaua‘i, Maui, O‘ahu, and Hawai‘i Island. It is critical to conduct inspections at the neighbor island airports so that passengers can directly connect to flights to the mainland.

National Sea Grant College Program – $80 million (nationwide), a $4 million increase from last year. The National Sea Grant College Program supports colleges, including the University of Hawai‘i, and other institutions for research, education, and advisory services in any field related to the conservation and development of marine resources.

National Marine Sanctuaries – $68 million (nationwide), a $7 million increase from last year. The National Marine Sanctuary program has two sites in Hawai‘i: the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale Sanctuary. Both bolster tourism and robust recreational industries, promote visitation, engage businesses in stewardship, and drive the growth of the blue economy through diving, recreation, hospitality, and tourism. Funding will support research, preserve habitat for endangered, threatened, and rare species, preserve our nation’s maritime heritage, and protect heritage sites for indigenous peoples, such as Native Hawaiians.

Resilient Innovative Sustainable Economies via University Partnership (RISE-UP Initiative) – $9 million, a $1.5 million increase from last year. The Resilient Innovative Sustainable Economies via University Partnerships (RISE-UP) Initiative, established in the FY22 defense appropriation, seeks to leverage the technical expertise of public universities located in similarly isolated states, but which play an important role in U.S. national security, to collectively develop and commercialize scalable technologies and build a workforce to meet future national security needs. This funding will continue to support the University of Hawai‘i’s efforts to create incubators aimed at developing and commercializing scalable technologies related to clean energy, marine technology, and other economic areas tied to the maritime space.

Native American Workforce Programs – $60 million (nationwide), a $3 million increase from last year. This funding supports programs that provide quality employment and training services to Native Hawaiian organizations, Tribes, Tribal organizations, Alaska Native entities, and Indian-controlled organizations serving unemployed and low-income Native Hawaiians, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives.

Veterans Affairs – $135.2 billion in non-defense discretionary funding and $168.6 billion in mandatory funding, a $34 billion increase from last year (nationwide). Funding included for:

  • VA Medical Care: to expand rural health access to transportation and telehealth, supporting women’s health programs by enabling gender-specific healthcare services, and supporting homeless veterans and their families by bolstering housing assistance.
  • VA Benefits: provides funding to enable the VA to provide benefits to recipients in a more efficient manner, bolstering disability compensation benefits to millions of veterans, and expanding VA’s capabilities to support an increase in the number of claims it can process, address the scope of claims, and the ability to reduce the VA backlog.
  • Medical Research: provides historic investments into research in areas like toxic exposure, traumatic brain injury, and oncology.
  • Honoring our PACT Act: $5 billion to support the Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund, which expands eligibility for health care services and benefits to veterans who are suffering from toxic exposure effects from their time in service.
  • Native American Veteran Housing Loan Program: $1.4 million for FY23, a $214,000 increase from last year.

Formerly Used Defense Sites – $317 million (nationwide), a $25 million increase from last year. This funding will support the removal of unexploded ordnance on formerly used defense sites in Hawai‘i. The funding ensures that the Army Corps of Engineers has sufficient funds to conduct remediation at these sites and continue the federal government’s trust obligation with indigenous populations by ensuring safe environments that are free from munitions and debris.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – $1.2 million. This funding will support inspection and maintenance of U.S. Army Corps of Engineer projects in Hawai‘i. $282,000 will be directed towards the Barbers Point Deep Draft Harbor on O‘ahu.

Navy Alternative Energy Research – $30 million, a $2.5 million increase. This funding supports the Navy’s efforts to expand its research of energy risk reduction technologies enabling energy diversification. By allowing the Navy to move away from its reliance on a single source of energy, this funding helps the Navy meet its two main energy objectives – energy security and energy independence. The University of Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute are national leaders in this research and their joint collaboration with the Navy on alternative energy will continue to forge innovations that meet crucial energy security requirements and enable renewables.

Project HOPE Opportunity Probation with Enforcement – $5 million (nationwide). Based on Hawai‘i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program, this high-intensity supervision program reduces probation violations by drug offenders and others at high risk of recidivism. The funding will support the existing federal program to replicate the HOPE model and includes $500,000 to establish an institute to provide training, technical assistance, and best practices to assist other jurisdictions with the program.

Tsunami Program – $28 million (nationwide), a $500,000 increase from last year. The NOAA Tsunami Program provides funding to coastal states for preparedness activities such as inundation mapping, disaster planning, and tsunami education. Funding includes support for tsunami monitoring, forecasts, and a grant program, which states can compete for, to prepare inundation maps and assist with outreach and education. Hawai‘i relies on all three components of the program. The increase in funding will help fill important vacancies and improve technology.

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

Increased Federal Reimbursements for School Meals. The appropriations bill directs the USDA to provide a temporary increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school meals in outlying areas including Hawai‘i. This follows a letter led by Senator Schatz urging USDA to increase its school meal reimbursement rate for Hawai‘i. The current reimbursement rate for Hawai‘i is outdated and does not accurately account for the real costs associated with producing and supplying school meals in the state. A temporary upward adjustment in the reimbursement rate while USDA completes a long-term cost analysis study could provide Hawai‘i with millions in additional federal revenue to support child nutrition programs in the state.

Post Office Service. The bill guarantees that no funds may be used by the United States Postal Service to close small rural and other small post offices, including post offices in Hakalau, Līhuʻe, Hana, and Kalaupapa.

Funding to Support the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE ACT). Additional funding and specific report language will enable the Economic Development Administration to provide technical assistance to Native Hawaiian organizations, Indian Tribes, and Tribal organizations that work to preserve culture and traditions and share them with visitors. The NATIVE Act was introduced by Senator Schatz and signed into law by President Obama in 2016.

Pacific Islands – $150 million. This funding will be a significant investment in the future of Pacific Island Countries. It will support programs at the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development focused on deepening engagement with countries in the region through trade capacity building, climate change mitigation and adaptation, emergency preparedness assistance, democratic governance, security assistance, and economic development. The bill specifically contains $2.5 million for removal of unexploded ordnance in the Solomon Islands.

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