S.B. NO.














Relating to sea level rise.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that Hawaii is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme tides, accelerated coastal erosion, and stronger, more frequent storms.  Even with decisive actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many of the impacts of climate change are inescapable and must be addressed.

     The Hawaii climate adaptation initiative was established in 2014 with the purpose of protecting the State's economy, health, environment, and lifestyle, by considering how to best adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.  In December 2017, the Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission produced the first Hawaii sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report.  The report identified areas that are susceptible to the impacts of sea level rise and urged immediate preparations for a 3.2-foot increase in the sea level by 2060.  The report also made a number of recommendations to state and county agencies, based on emerging best practices, designed to strengthen Hawaii's overall readiness to face sea level rise and climate change.  

     The purpose of this Act is to appropriate funds and to direct the department of transportation to:

     (1)  Address transportation infrastructure already impacted by sea level rise, including but not limited to highways, airports, and harbors;

     (2)  Identify other vulnerable associated public infrastructure;

     (3)  Create a plan for mitigating and adapting to sea level rise; and

     (4)  Provide policy discretion to the legislature on how and what funding is needed to move forward with concrete strategies to address the impacts of climate change on the State.

     SECTION 2.  (a)  The department of transportation shall:

     (1)  Conduct a thorough inventory of transportation infrastructure, existing or planned, both constructed and natural, to determine if the infrastructure is in or near an area that is vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise and to analyze the predicted impacts of sea level rise on vulnerable infrastructure;

     (2)  Identify priority areas throughout the State that will be subject to high rates of coastal erosion and sea level rise, including transportation infrastructure and private properties;

     (3)  Work with the Hawaii climate change mitigation and adaptation commission and county agencies to develop transportation adaptation plans in accordance with the sea level vulnerability and adaptation report;

     (4)  Recommend to the legislature specific policies that may be adopted for the managed retreat, relocation, or reinforcement of infrastructure or mitigation measures to minimize the impacts of sea level rise on transportation infrastructure and private properties, including information on how these recommendations may be funded; and

     (5)  Consider and make specific recommendations on sea level rise policies that have been implemented in other states and nations that may be applicable to transportation infrastructure in Hawaii.

     (b)  The department of transportation shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2022.

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2020-2021 to support the department of transportation in carrying out its activities, as required by section 2 of this Act.

     The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of transportation for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2020.




















Report Title:

Department of Transportation; Sea Level Rise; Climate Change; Report; Appropriation



Directs the department of transportation to address transportation infrastructure already impacted by sea level rise, identify other vulnerable associated public infrastructure, create a plan for mitigating and adapting to sea level rise, and provide policy direction to the legislation on funding and strategies to address the impact of climate change on the State.  Appropriates funds to the department of transportation to assess potential highway realignments caused by sea level rise, determine liability costs, and prepare a comprehensive management plan.




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