Hawai’i mayors seek federal funding for infrastructure projects, new jobs

News Report
Travis Quezon

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares met with Congressional leaders this week to seek $744 million for city and county infrastructure projects.

The trip was part of a call for the MainStreet Economic Recovery plan, a national coordinated by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Mayors from across the nation are requesting emergency federal funding for over 11,391 infrastructure projects to be included in the first 100 days of President-elect Barrack Obama's administration. Projects are located in 427 cities and are estimated to cost $73 billion.

"We are all facing significant challenges, and we must face them together," Mr. Hannemann said. "We must invest in our communities and in our workforce to move our nation forward and keep it strong."

Mr. Hannemann and Ms. Tavares met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to report that the projects would create about 6,200 jobs in Hawai'i as part of the economic recovery effort.

"This economic recovery effort should not be construed as a handout or bailout, but as a partnership," Mr. Hannemann said.

"Investing in projects that will generate jobs, support small businesses, stimulate our economy, and strengthen our infrastructure would pay immediate benefits throughout the country and throughout Maui County," Ms. Tavares said. "We have developed a list of 58 projects totaling over $200 million that would have a significant impact on our local economy in the short term as well as the long term. Our proposal demonstrates the significant needs we face in Maui County, and I have transmitted it to be included as part of the larger plan that addresses the economic challenges that Mayors throughout the country are grappling with."

The Maui mayor projects that 2,894 jobs will be created through funding projects in six different sectors including public safety technology, water and wastewater, highways, transit, energy, and Community Development Block Grants.

The largest amount of jobs projected for Maui County come with an expanded bus fleet purchase, estimated at $2 million and creating 850 jobs. Projects for the Maui Electric Vehicle services and energy retrofits of public buildings are estimated to cost $30 million and will create 325 jobs. A new communications system and the New Technologies Police Station for Effective Law Enforcement will cost $40 million and create 325 jobs in Maui County.

Honolulu's projects are estimated to cost $543 million and create approximately 3,500 jobs.

Projects include repairs to water mains in Hale'iwa, Kane'ohe and Waipio; reservoirs in Kahana and Waimanalo; and streets and sidewalks throughout the island as well as a range of transportation, public safety and affordable housing initiatives, including 80 new hybrid buses, expansion of the Pearl City bus facility, and construction of the planned Middle Street Intermodal Center.

"This economic recovery effort should not be construed as a handout or bailout, but as a partnership," Mr. Hannemann said. "Mayors are willing to do their part, as we have in Honolulu, with the millions of local dollars we have invested in repairing and maintaining our infrastructure. Mayors are well-positioned to create immediate jobs because of our ongoing emphasis on infrastructure."

For more information on the Mainstreet Economic Recovery plan, visit www.usmayors.org and click on the "Ready to Go" Report tab.