Media release from U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka:
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 today.
The funding comes through a very competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant 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. 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 Inouye. “A safe and expanded Saddle Road will also dramatically improve the quality of life for Hawaii Island’s residents and visitors.”
“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.
“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,”
“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 Akaka.
“This is a welcome announcement for families, workers, and businesses that will benefit from the Saddle Road project, both from the jobs it will create during construction, and from safe easy travel once it is completed,” said Congresswoman Hirono (HI-2), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This year 828 applicants from all 50 states-representing projects totaling over $14 billion-competed for the $527 million in TIGER funds that were available. Congratulations to the State of Hawaii’s transportation team for putting together an application that clearly demonstrates the long-term safety and positive economic impact this project will have on Hawaii Island-and which set it apart from its competitors.”
“Over the years, improvements to Saddle Road have helped provide Big Island drivers with a safe, efficient route between East and West Hawaii. Every day, residents, businesses, and visitors use the cross-island road to commute to work, visit family and friends, and access some of the island’s most popular attractions. It also serves the military as a route between Pohakuloa and Kawaihae. I am pleased to see continued investment in our infrastructure,” said Congresswoman Hanabusa.
For more information on TIGER grants, please visit: http://www.dot.gov/tiger/index.html