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Hawaii plans $500M in Bond-Financed Construction Projects

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser – January 9, 2012

Hawaii state senators are looking to increase jobs by giving the construction industry a boost, through an ambitious through infrastructure projects financed through up to $500 million in bond financing. The lawmakers intend to aggressively seek the plan with emphasis on small repair and maintenance projects that can be launched right away to put people to work.

“We have under spent on infrastructure, just like the rest of the country, for decades and decades. And so there’s things that need to be done. You need roads fixed,” said Carl Bonham, executive director at UHERO , who also serves on the state Council on Revenues. “So it’s not a really tough decision, and at the moment we still have very aggressively low interest rates.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has already requested lawmakers approve $300 million in new bond-financed construction projects in the supplemental budget as part of a $1.2 billion boost in construction spending. If it passes, the state’s capital improvement project plan will be $2.2 billion next fiscal year. The senators said their $500 million proposal could include items on the governor’s list or trade projects that are lower priorities or that are not ready for construction.

In November, the Abercrombie administration finished a record-high $1.3 billion general obligation bond sale, taking advantage of very low interest rates. This brought the state’s bond debt to $4 billion. The Tom Warne Report