Maui News

Hokama Urges Long-Term Action on Federal Transportation Funding

August 4, 2014, 7:25 AM HST
* Updated August 4, 7:26 AM
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Photo courtesy: National Association of Counties/ Council Member  Riki Hokama/Office of Council Services, County of Maui.

Photo courtesy: National Association of Counties/ Council Member Riki Hokama/Office of Council Services, County of Maui.

By Maui Now Staff

Council Member Riki Hokama is urging Congress to provide long-term certainty for the nation’s transportation providers.

The statement comes following the passage of House Resolution 5021 in the US Senate on July 31, that effectively implements a “short-term fix” that prevents the Highway Trust Fund from becoming insolvent.

Hokama, who serves as president of the National Association of Counties, said counties own and maintain the greatest share of the nation’s roadway miles, and are stewards of more than a third of the nation’s transit systems and airports that connect residents, communities, and businesses.

“Stopgap measures hinder major transportation investments and jeopardize jobs.  There is significant need for a long-term reinvestment in America,” Hokama said in a press release statement.

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The Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 extends the current authorization law for transit, highway, and highway-safety programs, and provides an estimated $11 billion in revenues to the fund through May 2014, Hokama said.  The program is set to expire on September 30.

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Without this bill, Hokama said, the federal government would curtail transportation reimbursement payments to counties.

Hokama said his presidential initiative for the National Association of Counties includes strengthening counties’ ability to deliver transportation and infrastructure services to their communities.

According to Hokama, a significant component of the bill is extension of “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” or MAP-21, which has provided a total of $105 billion for the development and support of transportation programs for counties nationwide.

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Without MAP-21, Hokama said, the Highway Trust Fund – the source of money used for many capital improvement projects like pedestrian and bike paths – would be expected to go over a major fiscal cliff and reach possible insolvency in the next year.

“Counties are leaders on a wide range of issues, and I am working to make sure that we are well-prepared and well-represented at the federal level.  Our top priorities include a six-year reauthorization of MAP-21, and securing a long-term solution for the Highway Trust Fund,” Hokama said.

“I call on our Hawaiʻi elected officials in Congress to support and advocate for long-term transportation funding to make sure counties can invest in significant infrastructure for the community,” Hokama said.

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