The $2.6 billion in BIL funding is a welcome relief for Hawaii's ailing infrastructure, and new investment faces the challenge of the corrosive atmosphere.
Hawaii is a state composed of eight islands located in the Pacific Ocean, and its infrastructure systems are unique due to its location and geography. The state has made significant investments in its infrastructure, with a focus on transportation, water, and energy. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Hawaii a D+ on its infrastructure report card.
Transportation is a critical area of focus for Hawaii due to its reliance on air and sea travel for tourism and commerce. The state has invested in airports, with Honolulu International Airport being the primary hub, as well as ferry and cargo systems for inter-island travel. Hawaii also has a robust public transit system, with bus services on each island and a rail system being developed on Oahu. In 2019, Hawaii had over 1.3 million registered vehicles and an average daily traffic volume of over 43 million vehicle miles traveled.
Water infrastructure is another essential area for Hawaii due to its location and limited freshwater resources. The state has invested in systems to address water supply and quality, including water treatment plants, desalination plants, and water reuse programs. Hawaii has also implemented regulations to manage its water resources sustainably. The state has over 160 wastewater treatment facilities and over 170 public water systems.
The energy sector in Hawaii is mainly dominated by imported petroleum, making the state highly dependent on foreign energy sources. However, the state has been making significant strides in renewable energy, with solar, wind, and geothermal power becoming increasingly prevalent. In 2020, Hawaii ranked first in the country for installed solar capacity per capita, with over 1,500 megawatts installed.
Overall, Hawaii's infrastructure is unique and continually evolving to meet the needs of its residents and visitors. The state has made significant investments in its transportation, water, and energy systems, but continued investment and maintenance will be necessary to ensure the sustainability and resilience of these critical systems, especially in the face of climate change and natural disasters.