Costs To Repair Road Damage From Hawaii Volcano Set At $82M

Mar 11, 2020

HILO, Hawaii — The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Hawaii County agreed on an $82 million damage assessment to be used to repair roads inundated by lava during a massive volcanic eruption.

Hawaii County announced that its agreement with the federal government under FEMA's Public Assistance program set the cost of the damage to county-owned roads, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Monday.

A Hawaii County Council committee was scheduled to consider a bill Tuesday to determine how to disburse funds to residents recovering from the May 2018 eruption of Kilauea on the Big Island.

The eruption buried about 13 miles (21 kilometers) of public roads including about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of Pohoiki Road, which was identified as the next priority for restoration.

The county will be responsible for $20.5 million of the $82 million in repairs and will use no-interest loans approved by the state Legislature for its share of the costs.

FEMA will fund $61.5 million of the road reconstruction. The federal funds can be used to restore infrastructure where it existed and also be applied to alternative projects.

The Federal Highway Administration covered the cost of restoring Highway 132, which was completed in November.

The four-month eruption destroyed more than 700 homes.

The Tribune-Herald also reported  the Kilauea relief fund bill scheduled for consideration by the county council would establish a framework for awarding residential disaster relief received by the county as grants to eligible nonprofit organizations.

Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, who introduced the bill, said the process would be similar to the county's existing grant-in-aid program, but would place greater emphasis on stated objectives before awarding funds.

The bill would enable the county to issue grants based on criteria including detailed budgets submitted by applicants and whether the applicants have sufficient fiscal controls to manage the funds.

The grants would range from $25,000 to no more than $500,000.