lihueCounty of Kaua‘i officials announced Monday the administration successfully bid for more than $13 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant funds will be used in the revitalization of the Lihu‘e Town Core, according to county officials.

“This is a historic day for Kaua‘i. It all started with a community vision and everyone working together,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said in a county press release. “The entire island will benefit from this collaboration.”

Among the projects to be covered by the TIGER grant are the following: safety improvements and the addition of pedestrian and bike lanes on Rice Street; a shared-use path from the Lihu‘e Civic Center to the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall; and bicycle and pedestrian improvements on Ho‘olako Street.

In addition, the conversion of Eiwa Street to a transit hub will be completed, sidewalks will be installed on Ho‘ala and Kalena streets, a bicycle boulevard will be added to Puaole and Malae streets, and transit services for the Lihu‘e Civic Center will be expanded.

A tentative schedule has been set for all of the projects covered by the TIGER grant, which must be expended within five years, according to county officials. The county will provide 15 percent in matching funds totaling approximately $2.5 million.

Gov. David Ige said the project will provide new and better jobs for local people and improve access to education, especially for disadvantaged populations, resulting in higher income and economic benefits.

“It is a model of sustainable transportation that can be replicated on other counties throughout Hawai‘i,” said Ige. “Kaua‘i’s regional impact reaches around the world with hundreds of thousands of people flying to Lihu‘e annually, the majority of whom are from neighboring counties and the Mainland United States.”

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in a message to Kaua‘i that securing the “competitive” grant wasn’t easy.

“This is the first time our state has received a TIGER grant in four years, and we could not have done it without the support of Mayor Carvalho,” said Schatz, adding Carvalho and everyone who contributed to the project did a “great job” evaluating the needs of the community and putting together a proposal that will improve pedestrian safety and increase access to employment and education through transit.

“As a member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations subcommittee as well as the Commerce Committee, I have worked with Transportation Secretary Foxx to underscore the importance of investing in planning that makes communities walkable and accessible for all residents regardless of age or disability,” Schatz said.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said in a message the TIGER grant program is highly competitive, so this award is a testament to the county administration’s depth of vision for the island’s future.

“When Mayor Carvalho proposed his Holo Holo 2020 plan, I fought for federal resources to make this happen including talking directly with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx,” Hirono said. “This federal support allows Kaua‘i to move forward on improving public transportation options, connecting neighborhoods, and revitalizing downtown Lihu‘e.”

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said in a message the County of Kauaʻi and Carvalho made “great progress” toward transforming and revitalizing Lihu‘e and this grant will “go a long way” in continuing it.

“Not only does this project create additional economic opportunities for Lihu‘e and Kauaʻi County, it also promotes the environmental sustainability of the Garden Isle by encouraging smarter, more viable community planning and expanding transportation options for residents and visitors,” Gabbard said.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai congratulated the County of Kaua‘i and said he was pleased the federal government is providing the resources the State of Hawai‘i needs to improve and modernize its infrastructure.

“Investment in transportation is essential to economic growth,” Takai said in a message. “Not only does it create jobs for American workers tasked with building and repairing our nation’s highways, railways, ports, and mass transit systems, but allows for faster transport of goods and resources throughout our country.”

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