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$10M boost for Big Isle airports

Big Island airports will receive $10 million in federal funds for infrastructure improvements as part of a $246 million funding package for the state.

Under the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Joe Biden last month, Hawaii will receive at least $246 million to support airport infrastructure development projects over five years.

Of those funds, $49.3 million has been allocated to specific Hawaii airports, including $10.4 million for two Big Island airports, according to Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

According to Schatz’s office, $6.3 million will be used for projects at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport, and an additional $3.9 million will be spent on projects at Hilo International Airport.

Jai Cunningham, spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Transportation, said it is still too early to say what projects the funds will be used for, and that the department’s Airports Division is seeking guidance on how the funds are intended to be used.

“In general, the IIJA funds must be used for infrastructure development such as improvement of runways, taxiways, and/or airport-owned towers or terminal development,” Cunningham wrote in an email. “The IIJA also introduces the opportunity for Hawaii to compete for discretionary grants to develop terminals, increase accessibility, improve energy efficiency, and/or improve airfield safety.”

Beyond airports, the IIJA promises a trove of additional funding for a wide range of infrastructure projects in Hawaii. The bill also will allocate to the state about $15 billion over five years for roadway safety improvements, $316 million to improve public transportation options, $18 million to expand an electric vehicle charging network, and more.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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