LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Bus has received just over $4 million in federal money as part of a virus-related relief initiative aimed at rural transit operations and maintenance expenses.
Kaua‘i County Executive on Transportation Celia Mahikoa confirmed the money was provided by the Federal Transit Administration through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act “to help sustain safe and reliable public transit services for many members of our community who rely on The Kaua‘i Bus daily.”
“The funds will be utilized to supplement the increased operating expenses required to support enhanced vehicle and facility cleaning protocols, as well as replace transit vehicles exceeding their recommended useful life,” Mahikoa said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration Tuesday announced a $8.9 million grant award to the state Department of Transportation as part of the CARES Act signed by President Donald Trump on March 27.
The DOT will use the grant funds to support rural transit operations and maintenance expenses of The Kaua‘i Bus and County of Hawai‘i Mass Transit Agency (Hele-On Bus) during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Earlier this month, FTA announced a $7.9 million grant award to DOT to support operations of Maui Bus, which serves the Kahului area, during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
See FTA’s apportionment tables for the totals apportioned to each area.
This funding is based on the agency’s current request and may not represent the full amount the agency will receive.
“This historic $25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public-transportation systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who continue to depend on them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
“We know many of our nation’s public-transportation systems are facing extraordinary challenges, and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “These federal funds will support operating assistance to transit agencies of all sizes providing essential travel and supporting transit workers across the country who are unable to work because of the public-health emergency,” Williams said.
In a press release about the transit grants, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) said Tuesday: “Communities in Hawai‘i rely on rural transit like The Kaua‘i Bus and the Hele-On Bus, which connect people to food, medical treatment and their work. As our state begins to reopen, this funding will allow Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i counties to safely continue their transit operations, and keep both riders and transit workers safe despite these economically unpredictable times.”
In addition to the CARES Act funding, FTA issued a safety advisory that prompts transit agencies to develop and implement policies and procedures regarding face coverings and personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, physical separation, and hand hygiene consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance. CARES Act funding can be used to cover 100% of these costs.
Jessica Else, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.