Funding Transportation & Infrastructure
Infrastructure is the foundation that connects our nation’s businesses, communities and people. Our nation’s public infrastructure system not only ensures the continuous transportation of people, goods, and services, but it also protects the health, safety, and welfare of the public. However, the infrastructure systems we rely on today are failing to keep pace with current and expanding needs. Simultaneously, investment in infrastructure is faltering. Given the tight fiscal constraints facing the nation today, it is necessary that we begin looking for new and collaborative ways to meet our need for improved and updated infrastructure.
Protecting Hawaii's Rural Airports
At the start of 2018, Tulsi introduced bipartisan legislation to exempt Hawaiʻi from regulations that threaten federal funding for the state’s Essential Air Service (EAS) communities, including Waimea-Kohala Airport on Hawaiʻi Island, Kalaupapa Airport on Molokaʻi, and Hana Airport on Maui. Given Hawaiʻi's unique reliance on air travel, the state has historically been exempt from EAS eligibility requirements. However, recent appropriations legislation requires EAS communities in all states located within 40 miles from the nearest small hub airport to implement a cost-share agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation. This requirement has put federal funding for rural airports at risk, without taking into account the unique travel challenges of rural Hawaiʻi residents. Tulsi's legislation would extend protections for Hawaiʻi that Congress has long recognized and ensure our rural populations maintain access to critical transportation resources.
Supporting the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST)
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 27% of Hawaiʻi’s major roads are in poor condition, costing local drivers $483 million per year. At the end of 2015, Congress came together to pass the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a bill Tulsi strongly supported. The FAST Act reauthorized critical funding for highway, bridge, transportation safety, and public transit projects in the U.S. through 2020, including more than $1.3 billion in federal transportation funds for Hawaiʻi. We must build on this progress by ensuring our federal government continues to make much-needed investments in infrastructure in our communities across the country.
Restoring International Flights to Kona Airport
Tulsi worked with a coalition of public and private partners to help resume international flights at Kona Airport after they were discontinued in 2010. Restoring international flights to Kona has both supported Hawaii's tourism-based economy and addressed critical safety and security needs for the state by providing a secondary international port in case of emergency
Helping Keep Air Travel Affordable
As an island state, we are uniquely reliant on air travel. Air transportation is an essential lifeline for people in Hawaiʻi looking to find a job, start a small business, see a doctor, visit family and friends, and so much more. Tulsi has continued to fight to keep air travel taxes and fees as low as possible for people in Hawaiʻi and introduced the Passenger Fee Restructuring Exemptions Act to limit the passenger security fee for Hawaiʻi, Alaska, and rural populations that rely on air travel.