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Fiscal Strategy, New Day Initiatives Showing Progress

November 22, 2012
Governor Neil Abercrombie , The Maui Weekly

I am pleased to report that the State of Hawai'i's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell in August to 6.1 percent--down from the revised rate of 6.3 percent in July. (Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.1 percent.)

The last time our state had an unemployment rate as low as 6.1 percent was in January 2009, during the early stages of the great recession.

The figure for Maui County (not seasonally adjusted) was 6.1 percent, which is down from 7.9 percent last year. On Maui specifically, this figure was 5.9 percent, down from 7.6 last year. (Seasonally adjusted rates are only available statewide.)

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Government That Works
Governor Neil Abercrombie

Although more progress is needed, we are clearly headed in the right direction. I thank Maui businesses for their part in this steady recovery.

To continue this encouraging economic momentum, I have announced the release of additional funds for various capital improvement projects (CIPs), each selected for their potential to immediately address priority work and backlogs on repairs, maintenance and upgrades, while stimulating the economy and generating jobs.

CIP funds released in September include $75,000,000 for repair and maintenance at schools statewide. This begins to tackle the state Department of Education's estimated backlog for repair and maintenance that currently totals $382 million.

Another $1,000,000 was released for Maui Memorial Medical Center. The monies will be used for construction and equipment for the upgrade of medical center's fire alarm system.

And $12,000,000 more was released for Kahului Airport, which will go toward the acquisition of remaining parcels of land adjacent to airport to ensure compatible land use for airport and aircraft operations.

In addition, for a project that will benefit our entire state, $2,200,000 was recently released to move us toward achieving our Hawai'i Broadband Initiative goal of statewide universal access to affordable, high-speed Internet by 2018. Specifically, these funds will go toward identifying landing stations for an underwater fiber optic cable, ranking the potential sites, supporting environmental assessments with cable landing developers, and completing pre-engineering studies of selected sites.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), which receives the appropriation, will enter into a memorandum of agreement with the state Department of Defense to implement this project.

For an isolated state such as our own, high-speed Internet can be transformative, connecting families, businesses and institutions; spurring economic development and innovation; and giving Hawai'i's citizens a competitive edge.

Through these efforts, we are building a vibrant and sustainable economy with innovative industries that will create high-quality jobs and improve our quality of life.




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