July 3, 2021, 10:56 AM HST
* Updated July 3, 10:57 AM
IS Congressman Ed Case announced the full House passage of the INVEST in America Act, calling for a $715 billion five-year federal government investment in the nation’s surface transportation and water infrastructure.
“Our country has simply not kept up with the investments in our country’s roads, bridges, transit and water systems that are essential to our national welfare,” said Case, a member of the House Committee on Appropriations.
“The INVEST in America Act is not just about critical re-investment in our infrastructure and not just to generate much-needed jobs as our country continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also about addressing the urgencies of our times like climate change and creating efficiencies and enhancements in our economy which will enable us to maintain our position as the leader in global commerce.”
“I fully expect that this huge re-investment in our nation’s infrastructure will provide huge opportunities for our own Hawai’i to upgrade and modernize our own transportation and water infrastructure which is literally crumbling in too many places.”
This year the House allowed for Member Designated Project requests by individual members for specific projects and purposes in their district’s communities. For this particular measure, these requests may only be directed to government transportation agencies. They must have demonstrated local support and they are subject to audit by the independent Government Accountability Office. Finally, all Members must publicly disclose their requests and sign required ethics certifications.
Case sought $20 million in four MDP requests, and all four were included in the INVEST in America Act. They are:
- $3,699,200 – Bus and Handi-Van Acquisition Program (Battery Electric Buses; Electrification of RT 40 from Ala Moana to Makaha)
- $4,000,000 – Hawai‘i Recreational Trails Program (Hawai‘i Integrated Trail System)
- $6,150,000 – Interstate Route H-1 Improvements (Eastbound, Ola Lane Overpass to Vineyard Blvd.)
- $6,150,000 – Leeward Bikeway (Ewa to Waipahu)
“While the improvements to the H-1 overpass and the Bus and Handi van projects assist with county and state transportation needs, the investments in the recreational trails and Leeward Bikeway are also projects that will assist residents’ quality of life and help diversify attractions for our visitors,” said Case.
Other provisions in the bill Case identified of special interest to Hawai‘i include:
- $4 billion in electric vehicle charging infrastructure
- $8.3 billion for activities targeted to reduce carbon pollution
- $6.2 billion for climate change mitigation and resiliency improvements
- Assistance to low-income Americans with their water bills by creating two permanent assistance programs and authorizing them at $8 billion.
- $4 billion to reduce or eliminate water bill debt incurred since March 2020.
- $2.5 billion for state water pollution control programs.
- A new clean water grant program to invest in communities with failing septic systems.
The measure now goes to the US Senate for further consideration.