East Hawaii News

Hele-On Awarded $270K to Plan For Pāhoa Transit Hub

July 7, 2022, 8:30 AM HST
* Updated July 6, 4:31 PM
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Planning for a new transit hub in downtown Pāhoa recently got a boost from the federal government.

Hele-On, the county’s public transportation provider, in partnership with the state Department of Transportation, received $270,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration Areas of Persistent Poverty program late last month. As a result, state DOT will receive funding to plan for the transit hub in conjunction with the county.

“We are elated to hear that we will be receiving $270,000 in partnership with the HDOT to create a much-needed, innovative facility that will serve as an excellent community focal point for our Puna communities, once constructed,” Mayor Mitch Roth said in a press release. “Creating communities with access to affordable food, jobs and transportation services is key to fostering a sustainable Hawaiʻi Island, where our keiki can thrive and succeed for generations to come.”

Eleven sites will be looked at to determine the feasibility of a transit hub with amenities discussed during planned public meetings. Additionally, the potential of co-locating a future Pāhoa Public Library at the transit hub with funding from the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System will be considered.

“The Mass Transit Agency is excited to provide Puna with enhanced transit services and start the formal planning effort for the Pāhoa transit hub,” John Andoh, Hawaiʻi County Mass Transit administrator and general manager, said in the press release. “We are also excited about our partnership with the (Hawaiʻi State Public Library System) and Hawaiʻi Office of Planning and Sustainable Development to potentially plan to co-locate a library within the future hub.”

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Administration Areas of Persistent Poverty program grants are awarded for planning, engineering, technical studies or financial plans to improve transit in Census-defined low-income areas. The program also supports coordinated human service transportation planning to improve transit service or provide new services, including paratransit.

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“For millions of people in communities big and small, transit is a lifeline,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the press release. “Every American should have a way to get to work affordably or school, buy fresh food, access medical care and visit their loved ones – and these transit grants will help make that a reality … .”

For more information about Hele-On, call 808-961-8744 or click here.

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