SENATE PANEL APPROVES $60 M FOR TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

July 30, 2009, 4:42 PM HST · Updated July 31, 1:17 PM
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Hawaii is on track to receive $30 million in federal funds for Oahu’s rail transit project and $13 million for Native Hawaiian housing assistance programs under a bill that was approved by a Senate Appropriations panel.

File photo by Wendy Osher.

File photo by Wendy Osher.

The announcement was made today by Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye who said, “Without federal funds they cannot complete the rail transit project that the voters approved.  Obviously I am going to do whatever I can. For the economy of Hawaii, for the transportation of our citizens, this is important.”

Under the bill, preliminary engineering phases for the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project can continue.  That includes initial facility and transit system design, and refinement of capital costs estimates, as required by the Federal Transit Administration.

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The spending measure also provides $13 million for the Native Hawaiian Block grant program to provide housing assistance to Native Hawaiian families.  “According to a recent study, more Native Hawaiian families live in poverty than any other ethnic group in the state.  This money will go a long way to helping ensure that they have access to proper housing, and that their families are provided for,” said Chairman Inouye.

The rural bus program would receive $3.5 million for Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties.  The funding would help purchase additional buses and provide bus shelters, transit benches, and upgrades needed to comply with the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act.

The legislation now advances to the full Senate Committee to be considered at a later date.

Specific allocations were broken down into the following projections:

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORATION

  • Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project:  $30,000,000
    This appropriation will fund the continuing preliminary engineering phases of initial facility and transit system design, in addition to the refinement of capital costs estimates, as required by the Federal Transit Administration.
  • Federal Lands Improvement Project:  $4,000,000
    Federal property within Hawaii includes several extensive wildlife refuge and national parks located on four islands. These parks encompass rugged volcanic terrain, wetlands, tropical forests, coastline, and historical fishponds used in Native Hawaiian aquaculture. This appropriation will enable access to and within designated federal properties for proper park services maintenance and security.
  • Rural Bus Program:  $3,500,000
    These funds will be used by Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai counties to purchase buses to expand routes and increase the frequency of service throughout the neighbor islands.  The funds may also be used to provide bus shelters, transit benches, and upgrades to comply with the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act.

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

  • Kapolei Interchange Complex:  $3,000,000
    This project will improve Interstate H-1 Freeway access to the city of Kapolei and surrounding employment and residential areas, and alleviate traffic congestion.  The funding will maintain and create additional jobs as a result of construction and business development in the region.
  • Alien Species Action Plan Inspection Facility:  $900,000
    For the operational and capital costs supporting the Alien Species Action Plan cargo inspection facility in Kahului, Maui, as directed by the Kahului Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision
  • Kahaleakeola Homeless Shelter and Affordable Rentals Rehabilitation:  $500,000
    For rehabilitation and improvement of emergency shelter and transitional housing facility and long-term rental housing project for low-income residents
  • Maili Self-Help Housing:  $500,000
    For the construction of 76 lot subdivision for self-help housing project for low-income families
  • Kahale Mua Public Housing on Molokai Improvement Project:  $400,000
    For the renovation of housing units to provide 25 refurbished housing units for low-income individuals on Molokai
  • Pahala Elderly Housing Rehabilitation Project:  $400,000
    For the construction of 24 units of elderly housing in Pahala, just outside of Hilo
  • Waipa Kitchen Incubator Project:  $400,000
    For construction and equipment purchase for a state-certified commercial kitchen, food mill, and underground oven in Waipa, Kauai, for the low-income and farming
  • Wahiawa Employment Training and Support Complex
    To renovate and expand the Wahiawa Training and Support Complex to double capacity to provide training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and other low-income individuals
  • Kauai County Self-Help Housing Construction Project:  $250,000
    For on-site infrastructure improvements to enable the construction of 26 residential homes for low-income households
  • Mookini Education Center for Low Income Youths Construction Project:  $200,000
    For the construction and renovation of a cultural education center for low-income youths
  • Institute for Human Services Homeless Shelter Job Training Project:  $200,000
    For the construction of a job and skills training center at Hawaii’s oldest and largest emergency homeless shelter communities to use for vocational training and processing of value-added agricultural products to be distributed and sold state-wide

NATIVE HAWAIIAN PROGRAMS

Native Hawaiian Block Grant Program:  $13,000,000
Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions Program:  $3,000,000

NATIONAL PROGRAMS

Essential Air Service:  $125 million
Community Development Block Grant:  $3.9 billion
Housing Assistance Council:  $8 million
Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Housing Loan Guarantee Fund Program:  $1 million

Maritime Security Program:   $174 million
Fed-Aid Highway Program Obligation Limitation:  $141 million
McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Program:  $1.8 million
Small Shipyards Grant Program: $17.5 million
U.S. Mercant Marine Academy:  $74 million

(Posted by Wendy Osher, Information provided by the Office of U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye)

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