HONOLULU, HI – Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, toured TheBus Electric Fleet Charging Station with leaders from the City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services (DTS) and Oahu Transit Services to highlight federal investments in Hawaii’s clean energy infrastructure. Earlier this month, the City and County of Honolulu received a $20 million federal Low or No Emissions (Low-No) grant from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help expand its electric fleet. TheBus fleet currently includes 17 electric buses, and this additional federal funding will help the City and County add 36 to 38 more electric buses to its fleet as part of its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.
“As we work to combat climate change, transitioning to electric vehicles is one of the most important things we can do to reduce carbon emissions and protect our environment,” said Senator Hirono. “That’s why Democrats fought to include historic investments in electric vehicles, including buses, and the infrastructure needed to operate them in both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Today—the beginning of TheBus offering free fares for a week—I toured an electric charging station in Honolulu and saw firsthand how these funds are working to benefit the thousands of people who rely on public transportation to get to work, while reducing our carbon footprint. I also had the opportunity to thank some of our bus drivers who have worked on the frontlines throughout this pandemic to keep our communities and our economy running. Thanks to these important pieces of legislation, I look forward to seeing Hawaii’s electric vehicle infrastructure continue to grow in the years ahead.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Senator Hirono helped pass last year, includes $7.5 billion over five years for transit agencies to modernize their bus fleets, including over $5.5 billion for the Low-No Grant Program and nearly $2 billion for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program. Earlier this month, Senator Hirono also helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes $1 billion for Environmental Protection Agency grants to states or municipalities to cover the incremental cost of purchasing heavy-duty vehicles, like school and transit buses and garbage trucks.
As Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Energy, Senator Hirono is working to expand the presence of electric vehicles and speed the transition to clean, renewable energy in Hawaii and across the country. In July, she convened a Subcommittee hearing on lowering energy costs that featured testimony from the President and CEO of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative about the long-term cost-savings offered by renewable power and electric vehicles. In June, she introduced legislation to require the Department of Defense to transition its fleet of non-combat vehicles to electric vehicles. Additionally, she also recently helped pass the Chips and Science Act, which includes billions in funding to support and accelerate Hawaii’s transition to clean, renewable electricity.
Photos and b-roll video of the Senator’s tour can be found here