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    October 2017
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Hawaii County Department of Public Works Request for Support Letters for Kea’au – Pahoa Road TIGER Grant Application

Aloha Big Island ‘Ohana!

Please assist the State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, Hawaii District with a support letter for their Pahoa Road Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant Application. I have attached DPW’s letter of support for your reference.

As support for the project is very important to the effort, we ask that you respond with a formal letter stating your support for the project. We ask that you respond by Thursday, October 12, 2017. Support letters can be emailed to: donald.l.smith@hawaii.gov

Please contact Donald Smith if you have any questions at (808)933-8866.

Mahalo,
Barett Otani, Hawaii County Department of Public Works

————

Dear Hawaii Community and Friends,

I am in the process of applying for a TIGER Grant for Route 130, Keaau – Pahoa Road to make intersection and safety improvements from Shower Drive to Ainaloa Drive and I humbly ask for your help and support. Below is a short description from the TIGER Grant website about the program.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the opportunity for state and local stakeholders to apply for $500 million in discretionary grant funding through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

“The TIGER grant program is a highly competitive program whose winners will be awarded with the funding they need to rebuild the infrastructure of their communities,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “TIGER grants will continue to fund innovative projects that will improve the safety of America’s passengers and goods.”

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 appropriated $500 million, available through September 30, 2020, for National Infrastructure Investments otherwise known as TIGER grants. As with previous rounds of TIGER, funds for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 TIGER grants program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The FY 2017 Appropriations Act specifies that TIGER Discretionary Grants may not be less than $5 million and not greater than $25 million, except that for projects located in rural areas the minimum TIGER Discretionary Grant size is $1 million.

The selection criteria remain fundamentally the same as previous rounds of the TIGER grants program, but the description of each criterion was updated. Additionally, the FY 2017 TIGER program will give special consideration to projects which emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for communities in rural areas, such as projects that improve infrastructure condition, address public health and safety, promote regional connectivity, or facilitate economic growth or competitiveness.

Given the above criteria, Route 130 in The Puna District appears to be an excellent choice for TIGER funding. It is an aggressive schedule and many people are already working hard to capitalize on this opportunity.

One very important factor is community support. It is my understanding the second most downloaded portion of the application is the support letters. I apologize in advance for the short notice, but I will need all of the letters in my office by no later than Thursday, October 12, 2017. A scanned copy will suffice.

Please forward this request to those who would support this effort and send responses. Neighborhood Associations, Business Associations, Council Members, Representatives, and Senators, and anyone else who can help us with this opportunity to bring much needed improvements to this area. Please let me know if you have any questions and I appreciate your support.

Thanks

Donald L. Smith
Hawaii District Engineer
50 Makaala Street
Hilo, HI 86720
(808)933-8866

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, Hawaii District will be submitting a TIGER Grant application for improvements to State Route 130 (SR 130) Kea’au – Pahoa Road from Shower Drive to Ainaloa Drive.  From the TIGER Grant website:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the opportunity for state and local stakeholders to apply for $500 million in discretionary grant funding through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

“The TIGER grant program is a highly competitive program whose winners will be awarded with the funding they need to rebuild the infrastructure of their communities,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “TIGER grants will continue to fund innovative projects that will improve the safety of America’s passengers and goods.”  

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 appropriated $500 million, available through September 30, 2020, for National Infrastructure Investments otherwise known as TIGER grants. As with previous rounds of TIGER, funds for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 TIGER grants program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The FY 2017 Appropriations Act specifies that TIGER Discretionary Grants may not be less than $5 million and not greater than $25 million, except that for projects located in rural areas the minimum TIGER Discretionary Grant size is $1 million.

The selection criteria remain fundamentally the same as previous rounds of the TIGER grants program, but the description of each criterion was updated. Additionally, the FY 2017 TIGER program will give special consideration to projects which emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for communities in rural areas, such as projects that improve infrastructure condition, address public health and safety, promote regional connectivity, or facilitate economic growth or competitiveness.

SR 130 provides the connection between the largest, most economical challenged, and fastest growing community in the State of Hawaii.  Rte 130 connects the Puna District to the basic services, jobs, and opportunities necessary to support this community.  The Puna District faces many challenges that this project could address.

The 3.5 mile section of highway contains 3 of the top 5 crash locations in the Hawaii District and 4 of the top 10. This is the major route for the Puna District and the only route in and out of Lower Puna with an Average Daily Traffic of approximately 25,000 vehicles per day.

Delay is the norm, an estimated 480 person-hours of delay from congestion is experienced during each weekday AM and PM peak period. Level of Service at intersections is E and F with peak period having the worst congestion.

Commuter Routes from the Puna District to the South Kohala Resorts are the most heavily used in the entire Hele-On public transit system. Riders have a nearly two and half hour commute to their jobs in the hotels. They have to wait in the dark, in the elements on the highway shoulder starting at 4:00 AM to make sure they do not miss their bus.

The purpose of the project is to improve safety, provide mobility, relieve congestion, and improve travel for alternative modes (transit, bicycles, pedestrians).

TIGER funding would support the following improvements:

  1. Conversion of existing stop-control at Kaloli Drive to a roundabout or signal and the addition of bus pullouts. Roundabout being the preferred alternative.
  2. Conversion of existing stop-control at Orchidland Drive to a roundabout with bus pullouts. Roundabout being the preferred alternative.
  3. Conversion of existing stop-control at Makuu Drive to a roundabout or signal and the addition of bus pullouts. Roundabout being the preferred alternative.
  4. Conversion of existing stop-control at Ainaloa Drive to a roundabout or signal and the addition of bus pullouts. Roundabout being the preferred alternative.
  5. Restricted movements and median treatments at the intersections at 29th Avenue, Pohaku Place, Puakalo Drive, Pohaku Circle, Aulii Street, and Ilima Street.
  6. Shower Drive to Ainaloa Drive multi-use shoulders

These improvements are needed to address the many issues in the area as we will further describe in the document.  We hope to address the following issues

  • Eliminate or significantly reduce fatalities and serious accidents in the area
  • Improve the efficiency of the roadway
  • Help to address serious socio-economic issues
  • Improve accessibility of the area

As support for the project is very important to the effort, we ask that you respond with a formal letter stating your support for the project.  We ask that you response by Thursday, October 12, 2017.  Please contact Donald Smith if you have any questions at (808)933-8866.

2 Responses

  1. Right 2nd lane open at 3pm. (Some people still use it before 3). Schools in Keaau end at 2:20pm. Than we have major traffic. Either open the lane at 2pm or widen the road to use the lane period. Traffic lights will cause more traffic by HPP to Pahoa. Need more lanes and then roundabouts.

  2. Traffic signals at those intersections! Roundabouts would leave traffic waiting during rush hour.

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