Senator Hirono Announces $7,485,000 to Improve Inter-Island Ferries

Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that $7,485,000 in U.S. Department of Transportation funding is coming to Hawaii to improve its inter-island ferries.

Congresswoman Hirono Introduces Resolution Honoring Mother Marianne of Molokai

Congresswoman Hirono Introduces Resolution Honoring Mother Marianne of Molokai

The funding will be used to support ferries from Kaunakakai, Manele, and Maalaea small boat harbors, located on Molokai, Lanai, and Maui respectively.

“Connecting our islands through transit and supporting air transit alternatives are necessary strategies to develop a more sustainable economy,” said Hirono. “This funding will help modernize Hawaii’s small commercial ferry infrastructure and ensure that residents on Lanai, Maui and Molokai can easily get from island to island.”

The DOT funding will go to projects that rehabilitate ferry terminals and piers, increasing the efficiency, safety and hospitability of the existing inter-island ferry system. The ferries make daily roundtrips and provide critical transportation needs between the three islands.


Hawaii Will Receive $8.44 Million to Buy New Buses

Hawaii will receive $8.44 million to buy new buses for all four counties, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa announced.

The money comes from the FY 2012 State of Good Repair Program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Ane Keohokālole Highway is designed as a multi-modal transportation corridor, including bike lanes, sidewalks, and bus stops. County Mass Transit will establish a Hele-On Bus loop using Ane Keohokālole and Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highways.

“The county bus systems provide our residents and visitors with a safe and reliable form of transportation that improves access to work and leisure activities, especially on the neighbor islands, and we must maintain and refurbish our fleet whenever possible. On Oahu, it is a much needed alternative to driving on an island recently recognized for having the worst traffic in America, as evidenced by recent ridership statistics showing an increase of more than 5,300 passengers a day over the same period last year. Hawaii is also the state most dependent on imported fossil fuels, and the bus is being used more and more by those who want to get out of their cars and avoid high gas prices. I would like to thank the administration for this critical investment,” said Senator Inouye.

“By funding the maintenance and repair of Honolulu and neighbor island bus fleets, this grant helps residents get to work and school while avoiding the gas pump and reducing pollution in the air we breathe,” said Senator Akaka.

“The bus systems across Hawaii are some of the fastest growing in the nation and they provide vital transportation services to both our residents and visitors. Today’s announcement shows the Obama Administration is committed to supporting public transit, which helps to give all of our citizens—whatever their means and whatever their age—access to jobs, education, medical care, and other community resources. These investments will help to make sure that this access is preserved, and that our bus systems can continue to operate safely and efficiently,” said Congresswoman Hirono, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“I thank the U.S. Department of Transportation for providing funds that will allow us to repair and replace vehicles that may diminish the quality of public transportation in Hawaii. Traffic congestion and the need for transportation alternatives no longer affect Honolulu’s urban corridor alone; they are a concern across the state. Our public transportation systems provide our residents and visitors with safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options, and we must continue to invest in their upkeep,” said Congresswoman Hanabusa.

DOT Grant Awards:

County of Hawaii: $1,200,000
County of Maui: $1,000,000
City and County of Honolulu: $5,000,000
County of Kauai: $1,240,000

Senator Inouye to Present Hawaii County $7.2 Million in Bus Grants

From the Mayor’s Office:

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye will be in Hilo on Saturday to present a check to the County of Hawaii representing $7.2 million in federal grants for six new 45-passenger buses and major improvements to the county’s Mass Transit Agency facilities.

Hawai‘i County Mass Transit Agency Director Tom Brown, left, and Mayor Billy Kenoi, accept a Federal Transit Agency check representing $7.2 million from U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye to fund mass transit improvements in the County of Hawai‘i.

“The safe and timely transportation of our residents and visitors is critical to maintaining a healthy economy,” said Senator Inouye. “These funds will help people on the Big Island get to and from work while reducing traffic congestion and limiting the impact fossil fuels have on the environment.”

A $5 million State of Good Repair Grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, includes $4 million for new administration offices and base yard for the County’s Mass Transit Agency in Hilo.

The new County mass transit offices will provide easy access to a central location where the public can visit or call to obtain transit services and information. The base yard will enable the county to better house and maintain the transit agency’s growing fleet of buses.

The State of Good Repair Grant also includes $1 million for the purchase of three new 45-passenger buses with wheelchair access, bicycle racks and passenger security features that will continue to improve the County’s free, island-wide bus services for island residents.

An additional $2.2 million federal earmark from the FTA’s transit capital investment program will be used to purchase four additional new 45-passenger buses for the County’s transportation fleet. The grant will also used to purchase bus stop and bus shelter materials.

“This $7.2 million grant is a huge appropriation for our County and recognizes our efforts at building and enhancing the largest transportation system in the State of Hawaii,” said Mayor Kenoi. “We are very grateful for the help provided by our senior Senator Inouye and his staff in obtaining this valuable assistance for our residents.”

The county’s free, island-wide bus system is rapidly growing. In Fiscal Year 2009-2010, 1.1 million passengers boarded Hawaiian Island’s Hele-On buses, an 18 percent increase from the previous year.

“The new buses and the administrative and base yard improvements will have a tremendous positive impact on our mass transit system, allowing more people to use the system and to help us address increasing demand for our services,” said Tom Brown, Mass Transit Agency director.

“The growing demands of our residents traveling between East and West Hawaii, connecting the Ka`u and Ocean View districts with Hilo and Kona, North Kohala and Kona, and between upper and lower Puna to Hilo, will be addressed with the new buses,” Brown said. “Helping to get our people to work, school, medical appointments, and recreation activities improves their quality of life.”

“With the generous support from Senator Inouye,” said Mayor Kenoi, “we are continuing to follow through on our commitment to expand our transit system.”

The grant will be presented in a brief ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, in the front of the Hawaii County Building at 25 Aupuni St., Hilo.