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            (Wednesday, July 29, 2009) – Mayor Mufi Hannemann today applauded U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s success in earmarking $40 million in funding for Honolulu’s rail transit project for the coming federal fiscal year.


            Mayor Hannemann said, “Senator Inouye, who’s been a stalwart supporter of our rail project from its inception, phoned me today to let us know that he had included $40 million in federal money for Honolulu’s rail transit project, which breaks ground late this year.  While that proposal appears headed for a conference committee, it’s very gratifying to know there’s strong national support for our effort, and that Hawaii’s Congressional delegation, led by our senior senator, continues to push for us.”


            Senator Inouye’s announcement comes on the heels of a favorable report from the Federal Transit Administration, which concluded that the rail transit project is ready to advance to its preliminary engineering phase.  Preliminary engineering further defines engineering and design features, and is a critical step in securing more than $1 billion in federal funding from the FTA’s New Starts program.  The City expects a decision soon from the FTA on when the project can enter that engineering phase.


Hannemann said, “We’re pleased that we continue to receive high marks from experts and consultants hired by FTA to review the financial aspect of our project:  Booz Allen Hamilton last year and now this independent report are reporting extremely favorable results.”


            The mayor will travel to Washington, D.C., next week (August 3) to meet with Peter Rogoff, the new head of the Federal Transit Administration, to update him on Honolulu’s project.  Rogoff was a Senate staff member when he inspected the Honolulu rail route.  This is the second time Hannemann has met with Rogoff since he was named to the FTA post earlier this year.


            Senator Inouye also announced recently that the Honolulu Police Department would receive more than $5 million to hire 21 officers through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.


            Said the mayor, “My fellow mayors and I, through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, were very aggressive in lobbying for this COPS money because public safety is the top priority of city and county governments across the nation.  The approval of this funding was the result of the leadership of Senator Inouye and the reputation of the men and women of the Honolulu Police Department—Honolulu’s Finest.”


The grants will be awarded to 1,046 law enforcement agencies from all 50 states.  The Department of Justice received more than 7,200 applications for more than 39,000 officer positions.





Bill Brennan, 768-6928