Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-04-09 01:50:58 –
Washington — It’s too early to know how much money will go on the road to Hawaii if President Joe Biden’s $ 2 trillion US employment plan is enacted, but business leaders are already in those federal dollars. Lined up for.
On Wednesday, Hawaiian Congressman Kaiali’i Kahele hosted a video roundtable with US Congressman Peter Defazio, the chairman of the House Transport Infrastructure Committee where Kahele sits, and Biden’s proposal and what that means for Aloha. We talked about what to do.
Kahele specifically noted that Hawaii’s infrastructure is below most of the country, at least according to metrics. From the American Society of Civil Engineers, And most of the problems were a consistent lack of federal funding.
The Defazio Commission is when the Democratic Parliament seeks to implement Biden’s vision of rebuilding national roads, bridges and railroads while investing in green energy, climate resilience and racial equality. , Will be at the forefront of deciding how much of the $ 2 trillion will be spent.
“You have some very unique issues and unique needs as an island state, and we need to pay more attention to them,” said Defazio. “As Kai said, the federal government hasn’t been a good partner for quite some time.”
Kahele invited a few business, labor and environmental leaders to work specifically on DeFazio on what they want from Biden’s infrastructure planning.
Kyle Chock of the Hawaii Regional Carpenter’s Council, the state’s largest construction union, He said Hawaii’s unemployment rate was one of the highest in the country before the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed the island’s tourism-led economy. Hawaii currently has the highest unemployment rate in the United States.
Called a chock Honolulu’s $ 12.4 billion railway project — Over budget, behind schedule, and subject to criminal investigation — “change opportunities” for urban redevelopment.
He also marketed it as a way to reduce traffic congestion and build more affordable homes through public transport oriented development.
“We’ve done a lot of work on the project, but it’s an important point and we’re at a crossroads,” says Chock. “This system deserves the funding and federal support needed to run to completion.”
Greg Asner of the Hawaii Marine Education Resources Center explained to Defazio the importance of securing the Hawaiian water system and addressing the 88,000 drains that dump coral reef-challenging wastewater into the ocean. He said treatment facilities, especially on neighboring islands, were “too few and too far between them.”
The American Jobs Plan includes $ 111 billion to address the country’s beverage and wastewater systems.
Defazio was also contacted by Scott Sue, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Electric.
Biden’s plan aims to invest at least $ 100 billion to move the country away from fossil fuels and build a more affordable and resilient power grid. An additional $ 174 billion is being spent to increase market share in electric vehicles, including the goal of building 500,000 new charging stations by 2030.
Sue told Defazio that Hawaiian Electric is doing everything in its power to reach these goals, even though Hawaii remains the country’s most oil-dependent state.
“We are 2,500 miles away from the nearest mutual aid. For the purposes of independence and energy security, we have modernized our electrical systems more sustainably, cleaner and more powerfully. We need to withstand the natural and human threats that come with us, “says Seu.
Hawaii has already promised to convert to 100% renewable electricity by 2045, replace all cesspools by 2050, and establish a zero-emission clean economy by 2045.
In an interview with Civil Beat, Hawaii Rep. Edcase said there were still too few details to know exactly how Hawaii would benefit from US employment plans.
One of his top priorities is broadband, increasing access to reliable high-speed internet. Biden’s proposal requires at least $ 100 million to reach that goal.
With so much money at stake, according to Case, state and local officials expect to be able to carry out major projects that haven’t been on the wishlist for years due to lack of funding. Is reasonable.
He predicted difficult conversations about what to do with coastal roads, bridges, and highways that need to be moved to respond to rising sea levels.
“We can sit here and do the usual course of repairing eroded roads and bridges, but that will only take you a few more years,” Case said. “It doesn’t solve the big picture problem.”
On rail, Case noted that the American Jobs Plan includes $ 621 billion in transportation infrastructure such as roads, bridges and transportation.
The challenge, he said, was to convince his colleagues and the Federal Public Transport Authority, which oversees the project, that the Honolulu Railroad is worth more money despite the challenges.
“Honolulu isn’t completely out on the left fielder,” Case said. “There were many mass transit projects that were over budget, too optimistic in terms of time and cost, and encountered unexpected obstacles and delays in terms of design and construction, so we are not that uncommon.”
“But you know, patience is diminished,” he added, “and that’s what we were worried about.”
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