Published on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hawaii assigns USD13 million to restore Waikiki Beach

The Hawaii Legislature has earmarked $13 million in funds to help save sinking Waikiki Beach.

The funds will go toward safeguarding the crumbling Royal Hawaiian seawall and other infrastructure  amid fears the iconic beach will eventually disappear under rising sea levels.

Lawmakers say it is money well spent for the visitor hotspot, which generates significant tourism revenue.

"Today, it is one of the most renowned beaches in the world and is also tremendously important to the Hawaii brand image," said Hawaii Tourism Authority president Chris Tatum.

Work will start from late summer or early fall on the seawall between the Waikiki Sheraton and Royal Hawaiian hotels as well as rebuilding a seawall at Kuhio Beach.

A report published two years ago said up to 20,000 people on all of Hawaii's islands could be impacted by chronic flooding, while ports and low lying airports are vulnerable to rising water levels.

"There used to be a wait-and-see sentiment among some but there has been a shift in overall perception, and people seem to feel that we can't wait any longer to address these challenges," said Dolan Eversole of the University of Hawaii.

"This is the largest appropriation for beach improvements on Oahu in recent memory. It allows us to move forward on several projects that have been discussed on and off for decades," Eversole added.

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