Stimulus will bring $43.8M to Hawaii for transit work


POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009

Hawaii will be receiving nearly $44 million for transit projects under the recently passed economic stimulus package intended to assist in the state's financial recovery.

The $43,837,375 is to be applied to transportation capital improvements, rural transportation assistance and ferry services, U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka said yesterday.

Akaka and Inouye said funds released through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will give a boost to the state's economy through tough economic times.

“;We are happy there is an investment in transit,”; state Transportation Director Brennon Morioka said.

Morioka said he supports federal funding in alternate means of transportation, including bus, rail and ferry services.

The state Department of Transportation will receive $2.93 million, and the remainder will go to the City and County of Honolulu, state transportation spokeswoman Tammy Mori said.

The city plans to spend some $40.9 million on the construction of transit facilities at Middle Street and Wahiawa, parking lot improvements at Pearl City, reinforcement of bus stop pads and the purchase of 60 large-capacity hybrid buses.

City spokesman Bill Brennan said the economic stimulus money was in addition to the $26 million to $27 million received annually from the federal government for transportation.

“;The idea is to either create or retain jobs,”; he said.

Brennan said he did not have an estimate as to the number of jobs that might be created, but the work would be mainly related to construction and services involving mechanics.

Honolulu and Kahului airports are under consideration for stimulus funding for explosives detection systems.

The Transportation Security Administration will be evaluating the proposals before making a decision.

The state has been designated to also receive some $126 million in highway funds under the federal stimulus package.

The state and counties will be meeting to discuss their needs, before a decision is made on how the funds will be divided, Mori said.

Transportation officials plan to make an announcement by March 17 on details of the projects funded by the $126 million.