WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted to pass a bipartisan funding deal Thursday that will increase pay for federal workers by nearly 2 percent and boost funding for programs that benefit Hawaii.
In committee, Schatz successfully advanced state priorities that are now included in the final deal.
“The deal will give every federal worker a well-deserved raise and add new funding for federal programs that benefit Hawaii,” said Schatz. “The increased funding for infrastructure and housing means Hawaii can access more federal money to improve our roads and help more people find homes.”
Highlights for Hawaii include:
• Bus and transit — $13.4 billion nationally, a $2.2 million increase for Hawaii from last year. This estimated funding is distributed among the state and counties for the operation and capital costs associated with operation of public transit systems, including the Maui Bus, TheBus, Kauai Bus, Hele-On Bus, and The Handi-Van fleets.
• Airport agricultural inspections — $32.3 million. This program helps to fund federal agricultural inspectors at airports on Kauai, Maui, Oahu and Hawaii Island. It is critical to conduct inspections at the Neighbor Island airports so that passengers can directly connect to flights to the mainland without further inspections.
• Highways and transportation — $49.2 billion nationally, an $11.8 million increase for Hawaii.
• Homelessness assistance — $3.6 million.
• Native tourism — $4.4 million.
• National Endowment for the Humanities — $2 million.
• Volcano research and detection — $30.3 million.
• Coffee research — $1.9 million. Funding will help maintain research collection of coffee seeds and plants at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.
• Invasive insect research — $1 million. This funding will be used to study and combat invasive insects, including fruit flies, coffee berry borers, and felted macadamia nut coccids.