WASHINGTON, D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii Department of Transportation will receive $13.5 million in federal funding to make improvements to Saddle Road on the Big Island.
Hawaii's Congressional delegation and Governor Neil Abercrombie made the announcement on Wednesday.
The funding comes from a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.
"Working with the community, the Saddle Road Task Force, and the U.S. Pacific Command, I have made the improvement of Saddle Road one of my top priorities for more than a decade, and I am very pleased that the administration recognizes the need to invest in this infrastructure project. The work on Saddle Road helps our economy by creating jobs and, once completed, Saddle Road will significantly reduce the travel time between East and West Hawaii. But more importantly it provides the appropriate supply route for Pohakuloa, one of the most important military training areas in the Pacific," said Senator Daniel Inouye.
"Hawaii Island's Saddle Road is a critical route that connects the Kona and Hilo communities," said Governor Neil Abercrombie.
"Saddle Road has been in heavy need of repair as one of the most dangerous, but important, routes in our state. I am very pleased that the Department of Transportation has approved funding for the continued extension of a modernized Saddle Road. This project will help ensure that island motorists making their way between Hilo and Kona or up to the peak of Mauna Kea will reach their destination safely," said Senator Daniel Akaka.
"Mahalo to Senators Inouye and Akaka and Congresswoman Hirono for their continued support of the Saddle Road project. This project is not only putting people to work, but by making cross-island commutes safer and quicker, it is making a real difference in the quality of life for the people of Hawaii Island," said Mayor Kenoi.
TIGER grants fund road, rail, transit and port projects preserve and create jobs that promote economic recovery and sustainable communities.