The Hawaii Department of Transportation will receive $13.5 million in federal funding to make improvements to Saddle Road on the Big Island, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono, U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Mayor William P. Kenoi announced Wednesday.
The funding comes through a very competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, also known as TIGER, appropriated under the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011.
TIGER grants fund road, rail, transit and port projects preserve and create jobs that promote economic recovery and sustainable communities.
"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," said Sen. Inouye. "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."
"Hawaii Island's Saddle Road is a critical route that connects the Kona and Hilo communities," said Governor Neil Abercrombie. "This TIGER III grant funding will ensure the necessary improvements for safe travel on this well-used roadway."
"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 Hawai'i Island," said Mayor Kenoi.