HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) board of directors on Thursday, April 26, approved emergency funding of $180,000 to support a free shuttle service to transport residents between Wainiha and Haena on Kauai’s north shore.
The remote region, which is home to several hundred residents, has been completely cut off from vehicle access following record-setting rainfall on April 14 and 15 that caused widespread flooding and extensive property damage, including the closure of Kuhio Highway due to landslides.
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HTA staff members did a site inspection of Kauai’s north shore on April 20 to assess how HTA could support area residents. Based on community feedback, funding the daily shuttle service so that families can gather food rations, fresh water and supplies, receive medical care, and have their children attend a makeshift school at Hanalei Colony Resort was deemed of critical importance.
HTA Board Chair Rick Fried said HTA is honored to support this community-driven initiative and assist families in Kauai’s northernmost region, as they strive to bring some normalcy back to their daily lives. “We have a duty to help keep our communities strong and take appropriate action to provide residents, parents and children with support in times of dire need. This shuttle service helps reduce the daily stress of keeping families fed, gathering essential supplies and educating children.
“It’s been just two weeks since this terrible thunderstorm and flooding occurred, but all reports indicate that excellent progress is being accomplished each day with recovery and rebuilding efforts. The support from the public and private sector has revealed the true spirit of aloha and caring that the people of Hawaii have for each other and the life we cherish in these islands.
“Our state lawmakers deserve a special word of gratitude from all of us for stepping forward so quickly to allocate $125 million in emergency funding to support the rebuilding efforts underway on Kauai’s north shore and in communities of east Oahu. We thank Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki for their leadership, and all 25 members of the State Senate and 51 members of the State House of Representatives for their aloha, kokua and support at a time when it is needed most.”
Operated by Hanalei Colony Resort, the shuttle service runs daily from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. making stops as needed between Wainiha and Haena to assist residents in gathering daily supplies and transporting children back and forth from school. The shuttle also helps to keep private vehicles off area roadways, saving on the usage of gasoline and making it safer for emergency vehicles and work crews. HTA is funding the shuttle service for up to one year.