Hirono, Kahele Successfully Secure Final Approval for Construction of Community-Based Outpatient Clinic for Leeward Oahu Veterans
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Approves Lease Prospectus for Much-Anticipated Advanced Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access (ALOHA) Project
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Congressman Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, announced that the T&I Committee approved a resolution that is the final step for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to award a lease to construct the Advanced Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access (ALOHA) Project. Following years of sustained advocacy from Senator Hirono, the lease cleared a key hurdle in December 2020 when the resolution was approved by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
“Veterans living on Oahu—particularly in Leeward Oahu—have been patiently waiting for a VA facility that will provide accessible, quality health care in their community,”Senator Hirono said. “The ALOHA Project was worked on by Senator Daniel K. Akaka and it has been a key priority of mine as well. This resolution was the final congressionally-mandated step before the VA can award the lease and construction can begin. This facility is long overdue. Our veterans need to get the care they earned, and I urge swift action from the Biden Administration to get this project underway.”
“This final step to approve the ALOHA Project will help the more than 87,000 veterans on the island of Oahu," Congressman Kahele said. "This project, first envisioned many years ago by Senator Akaka, is a top priority for the delegation and I am pleased to join Senator Hirono and my colleagues to announce that work can now begin to construct the facility."
The unanimous passage of this resolution in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure authorizes 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 on the Ewa Plain area of Oahu and provide primary care, mental health care, x-ray, laboratory, diagnostic, pharmacy, 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.
Senator Hirono has long championed the ALOHA Project. In 2014, Senator Hirono included authorization for the facility in the VA Choice Act and originally secured lease award authorization in the Senate in January 2018.
After internal delays at the VA postponed the timeline for construction of the project, Senator Hirono pressed former VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to expedite a lease award at Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings in March 2019 and June 2020, and spoke with newly-appointed VA Secretary Denis McDonough about the project ahead of his confirmation in December 2020.
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