Maui News

Hirono: “While Imperfect, Highway Bill Will Increase Funding For Hawaiʻi”

July 30, 2015, 3:45 PM HST
* Updated July 30, 3:46 PM
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Honoapiʻilani Highway. File Photo by Wendy Osher.

Honoapiʻilani Highway. File Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

Senator Mazie Hirono today voted to pass the highway bill, which if enacted, will increase highway and bus funding for the state.

Senator Hirono said the six-year highway bill, “will give transportation agencies more certainty to plan for the long-term building and repair of our roads, bridges, public transit systems, and other infrastructure needs that are critical to our economy.”

The bill also reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank, which Hirono said supports jobs and small businesses in Hawaiʻi.

Although it has benefits for Hawaiʻi, Senator Hirono called the bill “imperfect,” saying there are many provisions that are concerns including adequate funding and safety issues.

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Hirono said she hopes the safety concerns will be addressed in conference.  “I introduced an amendment to strike a provision that may jeopardize the safety of port workers and supported amendments to require manufacturers to more quickly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the need for a vehicle recall or face imprisonment, require manufacturers to secure their vehicles from malicious hackers, ensure a broader federal complete street policy, and other priorities.”

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Under the transportation bill, Hawaiʻi’s highway funding increases from a current level of $163 million to $171 million in the first year of the bill, a nearly 5% increase, and up to $197 million in fiscal year 2021, a 20% increase from current funding levels. According to Hirono, the bill in its current form does not provide funding for the full six years.

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