Friday, March 11, 2005

"We need relief, and rail transit is the key to solving the problem."

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie
(D-Urban Honolulu)

Isles get slice
of road plans

Hawaii is due to get $32M
in federal funding in a
bill now in the Senate

WASHINGTON » The House approved a mammoth highway and transit bill yesterday that aims to reduce traffic congestion nationwide and bring jobs to every lawmaker's home district.

Included in the bill is $32 million for Hawaii road and highway projects and authorization of unspecified federal funding for a rail system on Oahu.

The White House said the bill was "long overdue" but warned, as the measure moved to the Senate, that it would be subject to a presidential veto if it rose above the $284 billion the House approved.

Federal funding for rail transit would still depend on state or county decisions to construct and fund such a system. The state House has passed a bill authorizing the counties to levy a 1 percent surcharge on the 4 percent state general excise tax for rail transit and transportation projects.

"This is an important step," said Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Urban Honolulu), who pushed along with Rep. Ed Case (D-Rural Oahu, Neighbor Islands) for inclusion of the rail project in the bill.

"Oahu is one of the most congested urban areas in the nation. We need relief, and rail transit is the key to solving the problem," Abercrombie said.

Funding for Hawaii includes $7.43 million for rehabilitation of H-1 freeway on Oahu.

The bill also authorizes federal funding of specific projects in the 2nd Congressional District requested by Case. The projects:

Big Island:

» $3 million for Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening
» $1 million for Waimea Bypass
» $200,000 for study of an East Hawaii alternative road
» $1 million for Puanaiko Street extension


» $3 million for Honoapiilani Highway realignment, Lahaina Bypass
» $1 million for Kahului Airport Access Road


» $3 million for Kapaa Bypass


» $1 million for Kapolei transportation improvements
» $1 million for Farrington Highway safety improvements
» $500,000 for the Waianae Coast Emergency Access Road
» $1 million for the replacement and rehabilitation of three bridges on the North Shore at Waikane Stream, Waipilopilo Stream and Wawailoa Stream bridges
» $300,000 to construct bike lanes on Kalanianaole Highway, from Makapuu Point to Keolu Drive

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