Hawaii is the only state not awarded federal BUILD transportation grants in 2018
The Trump administration Tuesday announced it is distributing more than a billion dollars in federal grant funding for transportation projects nationwide. But none of that money is coming to Hawaii.
WASHINGTON - The Trump administration Tuesday announced it is distributing more than a billion dollars in federal grant funding for transportation projects nationwide. But none of that money is coming to Hawaii.
In all, $1.5 billion in federal funding called “BUILD” (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Grants)is now making its way to 91 transportation and infrastructure projects across 49 states and the District of Columbia.
“The BUILD program supports infrastructure improvements that advance the goals of safety, improve the quality of life, environmental protection,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao during a news conference at the Department. of Transportation headquarters in Washington.
It’s a record amount of funding following a record 851 applications from all 50 states and D.C. worth nearly $11 billion in requests, according to a D.O.T. statement.
While no formal explanation was given about why Hawaii was not provided with funding, Chao noted the rigorous and competitive nature of the selection process, and vowed this is just the beginning of the a much larger nationwide infrastructure investment.
“A number of criteria were factored into the selection process including project readiness, cost and benefits, geographic diversity,” Chao said.
Hawaii has previously benefitted from BUILD grants, formerly known as TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grants. In 2015, the state received $13.8 million for the Lihu’e Town Core Mobility and Revitalization project; and more than $13 million in 2011 for the Saddle Rd. Improvement Project on the Big Island.
The majority of the projects are geared toward rural infrastructure, but don’t just focus on things like roads and bridges. Others center on rail, rural broadband internet access, and more.
“This has been a wonderful down payment, really the second installment in that program,” said Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose state received three grants. “But we can use much more.”
A down payment the Trump administration and Congressional leaders are vowing to build upon in 2019.