The Hawaii Congressional Delegation reiterated support for the Honolulu Rail Transit project today after the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations approved their version of the Fiscal Year 2013 Transportation Housing and Urban Development bill by voice vote.
"It is unfortunate that my Republican colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut funding for one of President Obama's top transportation priorities. Today's vote underscores the importance of Honolulu entering into a full funding grant agreement. The President's budget request for $250 million in New Starts funding for the Honolulu Rail Transit project was approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations by a bipartisan vote of 28-1, and I will continue to work with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, in the House and the Senate, to ensure Honolulu receives the necessary funding to advance this vital project. Work on the rail line is already underway and the city council recently approved a $450 million line of credit to help finance construction. Honolulu recently received the dubious distinction as the city in the United States most besieged by traffic gridlock, surpassing even Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. I would also note that Hawaii spent a record $4.5 billion on imported oil last year and we are the most oil dependent state in the nation. Transportation and oil consumption are real problems in Hawaii and we are sadly lacking in solutions that will have a significant impact in the near future. Rail transit on Oahu has been debated and discussed for nearly forty years and the time for talk is over. We have to move forward, together, to create jobs and offer our residents and visitors a much needed alternative to driving on over-congested roads, while at the same time lessening our dependence on imported fossil fuels," said Senator Daniel K. Inouye
"The Honolulu Rail Transit project is an urgently needed investment in Hawaii's transportation future, and a priority for the Hawaii Congressional Delegation. While so many American cities benefit from rail transit systems, Oahu drivers lose precious time with their families sitting on congested highways and must spend more of their hard earned money on gas. Oahu residents deserve an alternative that will limit pollution in the air we breathe, reduce the money we spend on imported oil, provide mobility for people young and old, lead to smart urban development, and take cars off the road to speed things up for those still on the freeway. The project is already creating much needed construction jobs, and I will continue working with my colleagues and President Obama's administration to ensure the project receives the funding it needs," said Senator Akaka.
"It is unfortunate that the House Majority is proposing significantly less funding for the Honolulu Rail Transit project, a top priority for our delegation and President Obama. The Senate was able to fully fund this program under the bipartisan budget agreement reached last summer," said Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "It's clear that Honolulu needs to sign a full funding grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Other projects that have that agreement were fully funded in the bill. Our families spend an estimated combined 51,000 hours in traffic gridlock each day so I will continue to work with my colleagues to make the case for this project so we can improve our quality of life, create jobs and provide our residents and visitors with more transportation options."
"It is unfortunate my Republican colleagues chose to cut funding for our rail project and I hope they will soon realize what this historic project will do for Hawaii's growing population. This long-awaited rapid transit system will provide our island families and visitors with an affordable transportation option, create much needed jobs, and reduce our dependence on imported oil. I will continue to work with the Hawaii Delegation to ensure the rail project receives the necessary federal funding," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.