Honolulu rail eligible for $510M in federal funding next year

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka announced Tuesday that the Honolulu Rail Transit Project will be eligible to share in an allocation of $510 million in federal funds in 2012.

Funding for the rail is just one of several Hawaii projects receiving funding next fiscal year after President Barack Obama signed the Conference Report on H.R. 2112.

"Federal funds are hard to come by in the current budget climate and Honolulu has an opportunity to secure substantial federal support for this long awaited project designed to help alleviate traffic on Oahu," Sen. Inouye said. "Rail transit will create thousands of jobs and bring welcome relief to commuters who are forced to spend hours in their cars each day inching through congested roadways. We have planned this project and debated its merits for decades and we must move forward."

Funding set aside for the rail project represents continuing federal commitment to the project.

"Hawaii must continue moving forward to secure available federal funding for the rail project. We need to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to create jobs and improve transportation," Sen. Akaka said.

HART Interim Executive Director and CEO Toru Hamayasu released the following statement:

"We are pleased to hear the news about the available federal funds. Senator Inouye and our entire congressional delegation have worked tirelessly to make this happen and we are truly grateful. We understand that Honolulu is a strong candidate for this appropriation. This also underscores the fact that both Congress and the White House recognize the importance of rail transit as a green, effective and efficient transportation option during these tight economic times."

The measure also includes $13 million for Native Hawaiian housing and nearly $386,000 for the Native Hawaiian Housing Loan Guarantee Fund.

It also includes funds for marine mammal and sea turtle protection, at-risk youth mentoring, among other programs.

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