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New Federal Funding Slated to Support Hawai‘i Airports, Buses, Clean Energy, Water Systems

August 10, 2021, 10:24 AM HST
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At least $2.8 billion in new federal funding is slated for Hawaii to support the state’s airports, buses, clean energy and water systems.

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, Sen. Brian Schatz voted to pass the $1 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that includes funding for Hawai‘i. The bill is now headed to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“Billions of federal dollars for Hawai‘i are in this bill to help us fix up our roads and bridges, and create thousands of new jobs across the state,” said Schatz, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing. “This massive investment will make it safer and easier for Hawai‘i families to get around while helping grow our local economy.”

The infrastructure deal includes funding to repair roads and bridges and make them more resilient to climate change. Additionally, if approved, the money will go toward improving public transportation for residents and strengthen high-speed internet access in Native Hawaiian communities and across Hawai‘i.

The bill also includes legislation authored by Schatz to improve road safety standards and make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The Vulnerable Road Users Safety Act, which Schatz worked to include in the deal, will help utilize technology, infrastructure, and design expertise to vastly reduce pedestrian and cyclist road deaths in Hawai‘i and across the United States.

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Key provisions in the infrastructure deal for Hawai‘i include:

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Roads, bridges, and major projects – at least $1.5 billion

  • At least $1.2 billion in estimated funding for Hawai‘i will be used to repair and rebuild roads with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, and safety for all road users.
  • At least $339 million for Hawai‘i from the Bridge Program to repair and replace deficient or outdated bridges.
  • Hawai‘i has access to nearly $16 billion in nationwide funding for major projects.
  • Access to $7.5 billion for competitive RAISE grants which support surface transportation projects of local and/or regional significance.

Public transit – at least $637.4 million

  • Funding will be used to help repair and expand Hawai‘i’s public transit system, including a historic investment in cleaner and safer buses.

Airports – at least $246 million

  • Funding will be used to improve runways, gates, taxiways, and terminals and make investments that will reduce congestion and emissions, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies.
  • Hawai‘i also has access to $5 billion in nationwide funding from the Airport Terminal Program for major terminal renovations and expansions.
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Broadband – at least $160 million

  • At least $100 million in funding will be used to help the state deploy and expand broadband access to more Hawai‘i families.
  • The Department of Hawaiian Homelands is set to receive at least $60 million to provide high-speed internet access to more Native Hawaiian families.
  • At least 280,000 Hawai‘i residents will be eligible for a new broadband benefit aimed at helping low-income families afford high-speed internet access.
  • Funding will also support the construction of new broadband infrastructure, including undersea cables.

Water infrastructure – at least $200.4 million

  • Funding includes $88 million to Hawai‘i from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to improve drinking water treatment, pipes, and water storage tanks.
  • An additional $112.4 million to Hawai‘i from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help support municipal wastewater facilities and treatment systems.
  • Access to $10 billion to address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).
  • Access to $250 million in grants for low-income households for the construction, repair, or replacement of individual decentralized wastewater treatment systems.

Electric vehicles – at least $18 million

  • Funding to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Hawai‘i to enable long-distance travel and to provide convenient charging where people live and work.
  • Access to an additional $2.5 billion in nationwide grant funding dedicated to EV and alternative fuels charging infrastructure.
  • Access to $5 billion to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and clean school buses, with a priority on low income, rural, and Tribal schools.

Clean energy and grid – at least $3 million

  • Funding includes at least $3 million to Hawai‘i from the Department of Energy’s State Energy Program to pursue state-led initiatives that accelerate our clean energy transition.
  • Hawai‘i has access to $3 billion in matching grants for smart grid investments, including energy storage.
  • Access to $500 million in competitive grants to make energy efficiency, renewable energy, and vehicle upgrades at public schools.
  • Access to an additional $550 million in nationwide funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program.

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