U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Recommends $250 Million Toward Honolulu’s High-Capacity Transit Corridor

President’s FY 2013 Budget Recommends $2.2 Billion Recommended for 29 Capital Transit Projects Across America that Will Create Jobs, Opportunities

2/14/2012
Contact: Angela Gates
(202) 366-3669

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today recommended $250 million to help construct a high-capacity 20-mile rail line through Honolulu that would offer a much-needed alternative to the congested roadways that make it difficult to navigate an urban corridor that’s geographically constrained by the North Pacific Ocean and two mountain ranges.

The project is included in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget submitted to Congress yesterday, which recommends $2.2 billion in funding to initiate or advance construction of 29 significant rail and bus rapid transit projects in 15 states.

“President Obama called on us to rebuild America by putting people back to work on transportation infrastructure projects that are built to last,” said Secretary LaHood. “In Honolulu, and throughout the nation, there is work to be done on projects like these. The budget proposal released yesterday demonstrates our commitment to putting people back to work building the infrastructure we need to improve our transit systems, highways, railways, airports and ports well in to the future. At this make-or-break moment for the middle class, we can afford to do no less.”

The President’s budget recommendation would provide $250 million to serve the south shore of Oahu, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu International Airport, and downtown Honolulu. The electrified line would help relieve severe highway congestion on the H-1 freeway and offer an alternative to the local bus system, which has one of the highest per-capita ridership levels in the country.

“The Obama Administration continues to make transformational investments in our nation’s transit infrastructure that open the door to more jobs and opportunities for millions of Americans,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “Honolulu’s new rail line will be a game-changer for a city that has long needed an efficient and sustainable way to combat congestion, bring people into downtown from the airport, and manage growth through smart transit-oriented development projects.”

The recommendation is part of the FTA’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2013, available online here. Individual detailed project descriptions are available here.

The New Starts and Small Starts capital investment program is one of the largest discretionary grant programs in the U.S. Government. Proposed projects, such as rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transit, and ferries, are evaluated and rated on a number of measures at several steps in the process as they seek FTA approval for a federal funding commitment to finance project construction.

Secretary LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff recently proposed changes to this program to cut red tape in order to allow approved projects to begin construction sooner and help FTA focus more on local needs, such as economic development, community revitalization, and responding to historically underserved populations.

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