Hawaii has received two rounds of funding this week from the the $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic — including more than $107 million to help counties provide transportation for people “with no real transportation options,” Hawaii Congressman Ed Case said.
The money from the Federal Transit Administration also will “keep transit employees on the payroll,” Case said in a statement.
Honolulu’s bus system moved to a holiday schedule this week, which Case said “was prompted because ridership has dropped dramatically due to the orders to ‘stay at home, work at home.’ But we still need to maintain a functioning public transportation system across the state, both through this crisis and as we emerge from it, and this award will help to keep those systems going and their employees on the job.”
Case said that $91 million of the funding will go to Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services which operates The Bus and The Handivan. Another $17 million will go to the state, which will then award sub-grants to qualified transit operations on the neighbor islands.
Money also can be used to pay transit workers who have been placed on leave or been quarantined, Case said.
Case also announced that the first round of funding went to the state, counties and non-profit groups to mitigate the immediate health and economic impacts of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The first round of funding, according to Case, is intended to:
>> Ensure access to affordable housing, community assistance services, and jobs for vulnerable American communities.
>> Help homeless and low-income people to regain stability in permanent housing; and provide grants for emergency and transitional shelters and to rapidly rehouse homeless people and families.
>> Help fund housing and supportive services to people living with HIV/AIDS.