HONOLULU -- Today, Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz, and Representatives Kaialii Kahele and Ed Case announced their intention to name the Advanced Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access (ALOHA) Project after former Hawaii Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka – who first spearheaded the project working alongside Hawaii veterans. Earlier today, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it had awarded a lease to Hunt Companies to begin construction on the facility, which is expected to open to veterans in the Fall of 2024.
“Throughout his decades of public service, including as chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Akaka was a determined champion for Hawaii’s veterans. It has been an honor to play a part in continuing his work to build a new health care facility for Leeward Oahu veterans,” Senator Hirono said. “In recognition of his diligent efforts as an advocate for veterans, and in consultation with the Akaka family, Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation will soon introduce legislation to name the ALOHA Project the Daniel Kahikina Akaka Department of Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic – a facility that will provide a high standard of care for Leeward Oahu veterans close to their homes.”
“As a World War II Army veteran and former chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Akaka always believed in the government’s power to improve people’s lives—a guiding principle during his 36 years of service in Congress. He wrote and passed into law a 21st century GI bill, which updated and expanded services for veterans and their families,” Senator Schatz said. “Naming this new VA center in his honor is just one way we can continue to pay tribute to his legacy of service to veterans and to Hawaii.”
“The award to build a new VA clinic on the Leeward side is significant – not only for the 87,000 veterans living on Oahu, but also because the good news comes on the third anniversary of the passing of Senator Daniel Akaka, who envisioned the construction of a facility years ago,” Congressman Kahele said. “The ALOHA Project strengthens Senator Akaka’s legacy and will broaden the benefits of veterans and their families for generations to come. Many thanks to Senator Hirono for her steadfast advocacy to see this project through.”
Through its legislation to rename the Clinic after Senator Akaka, Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation seeks to honor Senator Akaka’s many years of service to veterans and the people of Hawaii. In Congress, Senator Akaka served on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and worked to expand access to GI Bill benefits, bring recognition to Asian-American WWII veterans, and secure one-time compensation for the Philippine Scouts, among other things. Senator Akaka said caring for veterans is “one of our most sacred obligations as a nation,” and this clinic will help provide that care for veterans in Hawaii.
On March 24, Senator Hirono and Congressman Kahele announced that the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed a resolution to authorize the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide approval to award a 15-year lease at an annual rent of $5.9 million for the project. It also authorizes an up-front lump sum payment of $18 million to facilitate construction of the facility. When completed, the ALOHA Project will be a 66,000 foot multispecialty VA clinic in Leeward Oahu and provide primary care, mental health, audiology, women veterans care, physical and occupational therapy, dental, prosthetics, and specialty care for veterans in the area.
The clinic will also reduce wait times, increase provider availability, and help alleviate traffic challenges and parking deficits veterans currently experience on the Tripler Army Medical Center campus, where the Spark M. Matsunaga Veterans Affairs Medical Center is located.