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Case Critical Of His House Appropriations Committee's Approved Measures Funding Federal Transportation, Housing, Urban Development And Public Lands And Natural Resources Protection

But measures include several provisions proposed by Case including nine specific Community Project Funding submissions

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case’s (HI-01) U.S. House Committee on Appropriations today passed two key measures funding federal programs addressing transportation, housing, urban development, environmental protection, public lands, natural resources, indigenous peoples and other areas. The measures propose funding for the upcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 (commencing October 1, 2023). 

 The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, one of twelve total bills funding the federal government annually, supports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) including the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, and Department of Transportation (DOT) including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

The Interior Appropriations bill funds the U.S. Department of the Interior, including the National Parks Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service and various independent agencies including the National Endowments on Arts and the Humanities.

Through his assignment on the Committee, Case secured funding for nine of his Member-designated Community Project Funding (CPF) projects that specifically focus on local Hawai’i needs, being:  

·        $1 million to support the City and County of Honolulu’s Safe Streets for All program.  

·        $1 million for Goodwill Hawai‘i to install a rooftop carport for the center's parking lot and solar energy as well renovate its parking tarmac.  

·        $940,000 for the Special Olympics Hawaii’s proposed outdoor multi-purpose community facility.  

·        $850,000 million for Catholic Charities to upgrade Hale Aloha, a 12-unit apartment building in Honolulu that help single mothers with children who need stable and affordable housing.  

·        $850,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawai‘i to help build a new headquarters that can provide space for its youth programs, support community and family workshops and act as a hub for mentoring services.  

·        $850,000 for Feeding Hawai‘i Together to help it with a modernization effort to improve the storage and distribution of food assistance.

·        $959,757 for the Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management to develop new Deep Monitoring Wells in Waialae and Waianae (joint project with Congresswoman Tokuda) 

·        $959,757 for the Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management to support statewide small public water systems to better conserve water. 

·        $959,757 for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply to update and improves the water systems in Aiea. 

The House’s CPF rules require that each project must have demonstrated community support, must be fully disclosed by the requesting Member, and be subject to audit by the independent Government Accountability Office. Case’s disclosures are here:  

Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development

This bill’s FY 2024 discretionary funding level is $90.2 billion or $2.9 billion above the FY 2023 level. In spite of the increase, Case said the funding measure still falls short of what is needed to make traveling safe, ignores low-income families living in hazardous conditions, and threatens to shutter our economy.

“We should be doing more to build affordable housing, promote safe travel and attract economic development. Instead, this measure slashes funding to help our communities, especially low-income families” said Case, who voted against the bill overall. “I cannot support a measure that sets our country back, instead of moving forward to meet the needs of our community.”

Case continued: “This measure also cripples our efforts to deal with climate change by prohibiting the implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule aimed at encouraging states to establish declining carbon dioxide targets and a method for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation.” 

  Transportation and infrastructure programs and provisions requested and secured by Case include: 

·        $753 million for the Maritime Administration, including $318 million for the Maritime Security Program, $69.7 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program and $20 million for Assistance to Small Shipyards like Kalaeloa/Barbers Point. 

·        Language directing the Maritime Administration to review the fuel transportation capabilities of the Jones Act fleet to ensure Hawai‘i and other non-contiguous areas can meet their energy needs. 

·        $62.1 billion for the Federal Highway Administration to improve the safety and long-term viability of our highways. 

·        $14.7 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, including $14.0 billion for formula grants to states to expand their bus fleets and ensure transit systems are in good repair. 

·        $19.6 billion for the FAA, including $12.7 to fully fund air traffic control operations and allow the FAA to hire 

·        1,800 air traffic controllers to replace the retiring workforce. 

·        Support for the FAA to continue to engage communities regarding aircraft noise and urges the FAA to continue to its ongoing efforts to evaluate alternative metrics to the current Day Night Level 65 standard. The Committee also urged the FAA to complete and operationalize a central repository for constituent complaints regarding airport noise. 

The bill includes the following provisions to improve access to affordable housing:

·        $22.3 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG). The NHHBG funds support the building, acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable homes. 

·        Language directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide technical assistance to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in developing and executing plans to meet the housing needs of low-income Native Hawaiians. 

·        $31.1 billion for project-based rental assistance. 

·        $5.6 billion for the Community Development Fund.

·        $3.7 billion for the Homeless Assistance Grants. 

·        $60 million for the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program. 

Department of the Interior

The Interior bill’s FY 2024 discretionary funding level is $34.8 billion, or $5.7 billion below the FY 2023.  The measure slashes funds for national parks, removes protections for numerous endangered species, and reduces assistance for arts, culture and history programs, among other drastic cuts.

“This funding measure falls short of what is needed for programs across the country to protect and preserve our public lands and I could not vote for it,” said Case. “But I am grateful that my Committee colleagues continued support my requests in environmental protection and land conservation, clean water to protect our communities’ health, protect our public lands and endangered species in my Hawai‘i.”

The Interior bill includes the following funding requested and secured by Case: 

·        $4.75 million for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service State of the Birds Activities to respond to the urgent needs of critically endangered birds that, due to climate change, now face extinction. These funds will help save numerous endemic birds which have been devastated by climate change and avian malaria.  

·        $46.7 million for the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Threats and Invasive Species Research Program. 

·        $33 million for a long-deferred water infrastructure project at  Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 

·        $3 million for the NPS to acquire an important expansion to the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, which is part of the National Trails System. 

·        $67 million for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Adaptation Science Centers, which includes the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center based out of UH Mānoa. These centers provide regionally-relevant scientific information, tools, and techniques to resource managers and communities in Hawai'i in response to our changing climate. 

·        $2.75 million for the NPS American Indian and Native Hawaiian Art and Culture Grants program. 

·        $62.1 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, which will help preserve Hawaii’s treasured historic properties. 

·        $4.7 million for Japanese Confinement Site Grants and funding for the newly authorized Amache National Historic Site, which was one of ten incarceration sites established by the War Relocation Authority during World War II to detain Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their communities on the West Coast.  

The bills now move onto the full House of Representatives for consideration.  

 A detailed report explaining the transportation and housing funding bill is available here

A detailed report explaining the interior funding bill is available here