Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle proposed a five-year, $240 million bond-funded capital improvement plan for state parks.

The “Recreational Renaissance Plan” comes as state lawmakers are struggling with a slowing economy and a growing budget gap. Budget officers estimate that the state’s current fiscal 2008-2009 budget needs to be trimmed by $125 million. The deficit balloons to an estimated $1.8 billion over a three-year time horizon. 

Under Lingle’s plan, announced in her weekly radio address Jan. 15, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources would use general obligation bond proceeds to upgrade and repair dozens of state trails, parks, harbors, and beaches. The improvements would support both tourism, which is the state’s largest industry, and improve facilities for local residents.

The state would sell $40 million of bonds in the first two years of the program and $200 million more over five years. The Department of Land and Natural Resources would increase fees and rents to support the debt.

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