A bill funding a study for a new boat ramp in Puna cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 472 — sponsored by state Sens. Russell Ruderman, Lorraine Inouye and Dru Kanuha — will next head to a floor vote in the Senate. If passed, it will be sent to the House for consideration.
The bill sought $1 million, but the amended version passed by Ways and Means leaves the appropriation blank.
The only existing boat ramp in Puna is surrounded by a new black sand beach created by last year’s Kilauea eruption. It’s located within Isaac Hale Beach Park.
The study would look at the feasibility and cost of building a new ramp and pier.
Meanwhile, the Ways and Means Committee is not hearing a separate bill to help fund restoration of Highway 132, one of the county roads covered by lava rock from the eruption.
A staff person for Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who chairs the committee, said the bill is being tabled to allow it to be considered for inclusion in the capital improvement budget.
Ruderman, D-Puna, Ka‘u, also sponsored the bill, which sought $15 million.
Hawaii County is seeking federal funds to restore access on the highway, where about 50 properties with homes remain isolated.
According to county Civil Defense, lava covered about 3 miles of Highway 132, 4 miles of Highway 137 and 2 miles of Pohoiki Road.
The county last December opened a temporary road over parts of Highway 137 covered by lava.
Mayor Harry Kim has recently called restoring access on Highway 132 a “No. 1 priority.”
Lava flows on Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone, which started in May, ended in August.
Lava was last seen on the surface of fissure 8 in early September.
The eruption destroyed more than 700 homes.
Email Tom Callis at email@example.com.