Puna boat ramp study added to capital budget

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo People swim in the newly formed pond at the boat ramp after Isaac Hale Beach Park reopened to the public in December in Puna.

Another bill to provide funding for a Puna boat ramp feasibility study appears dead for the legislative session.

But the Legislature might still allocate the funds through the capital budget.


“The bill was just a second alternative,” said Sen. Russell Ruderman.

Both Ruderman and Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, Democrats representing Puna, introduced bills to study the feasibility of building a new boat ramp, after the existing one at Isaac Hale Beach Park was cut off by a new black sand beach created by last year’s Kilauea eruption.

Only Ruderman’s version moved forward, but it’s not expected to get a hearing in the House Water, Land and Hawaiian Affairs Committee by a Friday deadline. He said that might be because $500,000 for planning and design has been added to one of the capital improvement bills lawmakers are considering.

“It’s in the budget, and both Rep. San Buenaventura and I prioritized that,” Ruderman said.

He said the boat ramp is important for Puna’s economy as it provides the only access to fishing areas in the district.

“After Hilo and Kailua, more fish come out of there than anywhere else,” Ruderman said.

The ramp belongs to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

A spokesman said in an email that a marine survey of the existing boat ramp likely will be done in the next couple weeks. DLNR contracted with Sea Engineering, Inc., for the survey at a cost of $42,960.

“DOBOR will not be looking at another site until it is determined whether the boat ramp will reopen,” he wrote.

A separate bill introduced by San Buenaventura to provide Hawaii County with another $60 million in disaster assistance has one more hearing to go in the Senate.

The bill passed the Senate Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs on March 14.

It next will be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The state so far has provided the county with $22 million in disaster funds because of the eruption.


The bill would provide $20 million in grants and $40 million in no-interest loans.

Email Tom Callis at

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