By Wendy Osher
More than $7.4 million in federal transportation funds have been allocated to improve the state’s inter-island ferries on Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi.
“Maintaining an array of options for inter-island travel is critical to our state’s economy,” said US Senator Brian Schatz in a statement this morning.
“These funds will ensure safe and reliable transportation for our islands’ residents and visitors, encouraging business travel and statewide tourism,” he said.
US Sentor Mazie Hirono who joined in announcing the funds said the allocation, “will help to modernize Hawaii’s small commercial ferry infrastructure,” and ensure that residents can easily get from island to island.
According to Hirono, the funding will be used to support ferries from Kaunakakai, Mānele, and Māʻalaea small boat harbors. This reportedly includes the rehabilitation of ferry terminals and piers; and the increasing efficiency, safety, and hospitality of the existing inter-island ferry system.
“Connecting our islands through transit and supporting air transit alternatives are necessary strategies to develop a more sustainable economy,” said Hirono in a media release statement.
Hirono said the daily round-trips provide “critical transportation needs” between the three islands.
According to Schatz, the funds are from the US DOT’s Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Program Grant and Loans program.