State Transit-Oriented Development Program


Photo credits: left, Andrew Nelson, 1510 Webster, oWOW; right, Korb + Associates Architects, Ascent, Korb + Associates Architects.

Mass Timber — an Attractive and Resilient Building Product for Hawaiʻi

Mass timber was featured in a presentation at the TOD Council’s April meeting. Kathryn Carrigg of Woodworks/Wood Products Council described mass timber as a modern version of heavy timber products that have been used for over 100 years:  one of several types of engineered wood available on the market, like plywood or oriented-strand board (OSB).  While not common in Hawaiʻi, mass timber has been used to construct multi-family homes, office high rises, school facilities, and manufacturing plants in the United States.  It offers an attractive, strong, and fire-resistant building product with a reduced carbon footprint—and has been tested for its disaster resilience as shelters for tornados, earthquakes, blasts, and fire.

Most of the work and cost of mass timber buildings are in the pre-fabrication stage.  For concrete and light-frame buildings, the majority of the work is during construction.  With mass timber, the beams and panels are pre-cut and connectors are pre-installed in a manufacturing facility, allowing it to be assembled on-site very quickly.  In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a 25-story building (19 floors of mass timber on a concrete podium) was constructed at a rate of five to six days per floor with a crew of about 10 people, in comparison to concrete, which would have taken at least two weeks per floor.  Mass timber offers time and cost savings with less waste and smaller crews, which facilitates shorter loan periods, quicker occupancy, and more buildings to be built.  Under Hawaii’s 2018 building code tall wood provisions, residential buildings can be built up to five-stories high and offices can be constructed up to six-stories.

Mass timber was used for housing after the 2022 Dixie Fires; its use was facilitated by using a limited number of floor designs.  This could have similar applications on Maui to rebuild many of the homes and businesses lost in the August 2023 fires.  To view examples of mass timber building types and obtain more information, visit and

The video recording of the presentation (starting at 12 minutes 26 seconds) is available at

Infrastructure Master Planning Underway for East Kapolei

The Office of Planning and Sustainable Development and the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority recently kicked off the East Kapolei Infrastructure Implementation Master Plan Project (EKMP), with Jacobs Engineering Group leading the consultant team.  The State Legislature appropriated funds for the study (Act 164, SLH 2023) to catalyze TOD development on public lands in East Kapolei.

The State of Hawaiʻi Strategic Plan for Transit-Oriented Development identified East Kapolei as one of three priority areas to leverage State investments along the Skyline rail corridor.  Approximately 1,000 acres of State land near East Kapolei’s three Skyline stations are owned by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, and the University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu.

Most of these State lands are undeveloped with limited infrastructure to serve the envisioned TOD buildout.  Similar to recent infrastructure master planning in Iwilei-Kapālama, the EKMP will identify and prioritize regional wastewater, water, drainage, electrical, telecom, and transportation improvements required to maximize housing and development potential.  The project will also identify costs, sequencing, funding and financing sources, and delivery mechanisms for the most cost-effective infrastructure investments to support housing production and economic development in East Kapolei.

Kahului Civic Center Complex Starting With Affordable HousingRendering of the housing portion of the Kahului Civic Center Mixed-Use Development

The Kahului Civic Center Mixed-Use Complex, a State TOD Strategic Plan project, is starting implementation with affordable housing. The Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) recently selected EAH Housing to build 303 units of affordable rental housing for residents at 60 percent AMI or below.  The one, two, and three-bedroom units will be ready for occupancy in 2029.  The project will be financed by Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, solar tax credits, Hula Mae Multi-Family bonds, the Rental Housing Revolving Fund, and the Maui Affordable Housing Fund.

In addition to being adjacent to the civic center complex, amenities include residential parking, bicycle stalls, EV charging stations, ride sharing, onsite laundry facilities, and community and fitness rooms.  The buildings will be LEED Certified.  Solar water heating and natural ventilation are expected to reduce monthly electricity costs.

The civic center complex will be designed and built separately by the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS), using $9 million in design funds for the state office portion.  When completed, the Kahului Civic Center area will feature affordable housing, state offices, a potential library and adult school, and a Maui County transit hub.  OPSD supported the interagency planning process with a CIP grant for master planning. The project was also highlighted for redevelopment in the County of Maui’s  Kaʻahumanu Avenue Community Corridor Plan published in 2022.

The surrounding area is very accessible, with a grocery store, medical offices, library, and restaurants including Kaʻahumanu Shopping Center within a 10-minute walk.

An overview presentation can be viewed at (starting at 20 minutes 20 seconds):

HUD Briefing on Federal Resources for Greening Affordable Housing 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) staff briefed members of the TOD Council and various housing program staff on climate change funding available from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which can help reduce energy use, bolster investment in renewable energy, strengthen resiliency in communities, and help close financing gaps for construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing.   

New and expanded funding opportunities through tax credits, rebates, and grant and loan programs have been authorized under the $369 billion IRA investment, including the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP) for HUD Multifamily projects, which has $1 billion in IRA funds for grants and loans for retrofits to make HUD-assisted properties more energy efficient, climate resilient, and healthy for residents.  As many as 105 properties in Hawaiʻi may be eligible for GRRP funding. 

A highlight was the Build for the Future Funding Navigator, a tool HUD has developed to provide convenient access to a wide range of funding opportunities for projects aimed at decarbonization, sustainable development, and community resilience.   The full presentation slides and a recording are available at the TOD Council webpage.  Additional information and resources can be found at the HUD Exchange Build for the Future website. 

HUD staff also shared information about the US DOT Climate Change Center Webinar Series (see flyer), including an upcoming TOD-specific webinar on March 25, 2024.  Visit the Webinar Series page to see the webinars scheduled for 2024 and to register.  

The briefing was organized by TOD Council member, Ramona Mullahey of the HUD Honolulu Office, the presentation was led by Jennifer Gottlieb Elazhari, Assistant to the HUD Climate Advisor in Washington DC, with Bennett Hilley, Senior Advisor for Housing and Sustainability in HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs attending in person.  For more information on HUD programs and resources, including its climate-related initiatives, contact Ramona, HUD Honolulu Office, (808) 457-4664, [email protected]. 

Rollout of the TOD Infrastructure Finance and Delivery Strategy

The TOD Infrastructure Finance and Delivery Strategy Project consultant team wrapped up the study with a final presentation to the TOD Council at its January meeting.  The study was tasked with finding alternative ways of financing infrastructure to develop much needed affordable housing in TOD areas—such as through use of value capture tools and the establishment of a dedicated statewide infrastructure fund.  The consultant presentation slides and video recording (starting at 21 minutes 30 seconds) are available at the TOD Council website.

The consultant team also produced a “Hawaii Needs Infrastructure for Housing Handout” to communicate to decision makers, stakeholders, and the public the Strategy’s key findings as well as specific State and County-level actions that could facilitate infrastructure investment to help address the State’s affordable housing crisis.

To implement key parts of the Strategy, the Green Administration and the State Legislature introduced bills proposing a constitutional amendment to clarify use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and to increase the Conveyance Tax on most properties valued over $6,000,000, to provide additional funding for infrastructure for housing development.  OPSD is supporting HB2362/SB3051 and SB3008, SD1, related to a Constitutional Amendment for TIF, and HB2364, HD1/SB3053 and HB2629, HD2, related to the Conveyance Tax.

The full report is available at:

TOD Infrastructure Finance and Delivery Strategy Ready for Implementation!

Infrastructure deficits continue to stand in the way of Hawaii’s affordable housing and mixed-use transit-oriented development goals.  While the counties, State, and private developers regularly spend considerable funds on infrastructure improvements, these sources are just not sufficient for the infrastructure needed to support housing production goals.

The purpose of the 18-month study was to: 1) Identify alternative financing tools and cost recovery mechanisms to recapture upfront public infrastructure investments; 2) Examine specific financing, cost recovery, and value capture tools for a TOD pilot area in each county; 3) Analyze barriers and strategies to implement tools for TOD; and 4) Develop recommendations, including legislation, to implement tools for each TOD pilot area.

The TOD Infrastructure Finance and Delivery Strategy recommends ten legislative and administrative actions at the State and County levels to address infrastructure financing gaps and advance affordable housing in TOD areas statewide.  The Strategy is available at:

The study was funded through a legislative budget proviso in Act 88, Session Laws of Hawaiʻi 2021.  OPSD thanks our State and county partner agencies for their participation and support.

2023 TOD Council Annual Report is Here

The Hawaii Interagency Council for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD Council) is pleased to present its 2023 TOD Council Annual Report.  It outlines progress on implementing the State TOD Strategic Plan such as the TOD Infrastructure Finance and Delivery Strategy and the TOD CIP Planning Grant projects.

The TOD Council is a 25-member multi-sector team charged with coordinating, facilitating, and implementing TOD initiatives statewide.  The purpose of the TOD Council is to promote mixed-use development, affordable and rental housing, and compact, walkable development served by transit on Oʻahu and the Neighbor Islands.  OPSD and the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation serve as TOD Council Co-Chairs; OPSD is the designated lead agency for implementing State Smart Growth and TOD efforts.

The next meeting is Friday, January 19, 2024, 9:30 a.m.  To receive meeting notices, please email Carl Miura, [email protected].

TOD Development is on Horizon for Līhuʻe

In Kauaʻi’s general and community plans, Līhuʻe is designated a major growth area.  About 4,000 units are planned for the general area to help meet the affordable housing needs of the residents.  With this growth, trip demand is expected to increase in the future.  According to the Līhuʻe Civic Center Mobility Plan findings, the County has several hurdles to overcome.  Currently, only 1 out of 8 commuters choose a transportation mode other than a car.  For people who prefer walking, much of the area lacks consistent and safe sidewalks and bike paths.

The mobility plan proposes several action items.

  • Require Transportation Demand Management (TDM) for all new developments.
  • Set parking utilization targets at about 85 percent.
  • Create a Parking Benefit District.
  • Encourage shared parking.
  • Invest in bus drivers and operations staff.
  • Eliminate barriers to shared mobility spaces.

In the future, Līhuʻe town core residents will be able to enjoy living, working and getting around easier and safely.  For details, please view the video recording of the presentation (starting at 17 minutes 22 seconds):

The study was funded by the FY2021 TOD CIP Planning Grant from OPSD.

Skyline Ridership Will Grow with Transit-Oriented Development

As more transit-oriented development (TOD) projects are built, Skyline rail and bus ridership is expected to increase.  Proposed TOD projects will include more affordable housing, schools, parks, businesses and jobs within walking distance of transit stations.  State and county agencies are working together to target public investments and housing around the Skyline stations, with similar efforts on the Neighbor Islands, focused on communities served by county bus systems.

In a recent Hawaiʻi News Now (HNN) Podcast, OPSD’s Harrison Rue discussed some of the collaborative work and projects in the pipeline:

Part of this interview was featured in another HNN segment about a Hawaiʻi housing delegation tour to Hong Kong and Singapore.  (Note:  Harrison was not part of the travel group)

Transit-Oriented Community Envisioned by DLNR in East Kapolei

DLNR’s goal is to provide about 64 acres of industrial land, 124,000 square feet retail and office space, 1,000 units of residential, and a 180 key room hotel in the growing East Kapolei region.  The project involves developing three of their parcels:  Parcel #1 (adjacent to the Keone‘ae Rail Station); Parcel #2 (east of the Kualakaʻi Parkway and Mauka of Farrington Highway intersection); and Parcel #3 (across UH-West Oʻahu along Farrington Highway west of Kualakaʻi Parkway).

During a recent presentation to the TOD Council, DLNR’s consultant HDR featured several scenarios and land layouts that could accommodate various programming needs.  It took into context the Skyline and rail stations, transit, terrain, views, UH-West Oʻahu, and overall circulation.  The next step for DLNR is to conduct an EIS.  Video recording of the presentation is available (starts 9 minutes 22 seconds into the meeting):

Before any construction can begin on the buildings, additional infrastructure will be needed.  OPSD along with its State and City partners will be working on a TOD Infrastructure Master Plan in 2024 based on possible buildout scenarios from the area’s landowners.  An RFP has been issued to hire a consultant.

The DLNR East Kapolei Conceptual Urban Design Plan was funded by OPSD through a $300,000 TOD CIP Planning Fund Award in 2021.  East Kapolei is designated as one of three Priority Areas on the Island of Oʻahu in the State TOD Strategic Plan.

Buildout of the property should provide DLNR with a much needed source of revenue while simultaneously contributing to the community’s affordable housing stock.

State of Hawaiʻi Submits PRO Housing Grant Application Image: PRO Housing Grant Application Figure 1

For decades, Hawaiʻi has suffered from a severe shortage of affordable housing due to steep infrastructure costs, high land and labor costs, and some of the most complex housing regulations in the country.  Studies show that the State needs more than 50,000 new housing units by 2025 to meet growing demand, but is on pace to see less than a quarter of that produced.  The Office of Planning and Sustainable Development (OPSD), the Office of the Governor, and its State and County partners submitted a proposal seeking $9.9 million in funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Pathways to Removing Obstacles (PRO) to Housing grant opportunity. 

The State proposal aims to increase statewide capacity to address a range of regulatory, administrative, and legislative matters in producing and preserving affordable and accessible housing and delivering needed infrastructure to support affordable housing.  These actions will unlock the production of at least 10,800 new housing units within the next 6 years, and with time and additional infrastructure, will help unlock up to 30,000 new units.  The figure illustrates how essential infrastructure improvements will stimulate the development of workforce housing in the Iwilei area.   

A decision from HUD is expected in late 2023, with an estimated project start date of January 2024 if the State grant application is selected for award.   

2023 TOD CIP Planning Funds AwardedImage of Draft Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital Campus TOD Conceptual Master Plan Project

Three TOD project proposals were announced as this year’s selection of TOD CIP funds at the September 2023 TOD Council meeting.  The purpose of the funds is to encourage the development of affordable housing, mixed-use, walkable, and compact communities near transit on Oahu and on the Neighbor Islands.

  • Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority
    Hale Laulima, Pearl City, Oʻahu; $250,000
  • Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority
    Hale Nana Kai O Kea Redevelopment; Kapaʻa, Kauaʻi; $350,000
  • County of Hawaiʻi Office of Housing and Community Development
    Kukuiola Village 9 Permanent Supportive Housing; Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi; $400,000

OPSD is very appreciative of the Governor and State Legislature’s efforts to support TOD CIP Planning Funds to advance TOD projects statewide.

Map graphic of three State TOD priority areas on OahuRail Opening Lets State Showcase State and City TOD Projects
To help the public explore along the new Skyline service, the TOD Program prepared a map handout that shows State and City TOD projects on public lands along the Skyline.  The flyer highlights TOD projects and plans that are underway (or will be soon) with funding from the State Legislature.  The map handout can be accessed here.

To enjoy the Skyline, please obtain a Holo Card.  More details at Rail Operations (

Hawaiʻi Interagency Council for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD Council)

On June 29, 2016, Governor David Ige signed into law Act 130, SLH 2016 (SB 3077) which designates the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development (OPSD) as the lead State agency to coordinate and advance smart growth and TOD planning in the State.  Act 130 also established the Hawaiʻi Interagency Council for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD Council).

The purpose of the TOD Council is to coordinate and facilitate State agency TOD planning, and to facilitate consultation and collaboration between the State and the counties on smart growth and TOD initiatives.  Links to Act 130, SLH 2016 and a summary of its provisions are available below.

With representation from State and county governments and the community, the TOD Council serves as the State’s forum for TOD planning and policy development.  The Council is co-chaired by the directors of the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development and the Hawaiʻi Housing and Finance Development Corporation (HHFDC).  The TOD Council’s primary responsibilities are to:

  • Develop and implement a State strategic plan for TOD, including mixed-use and affordable and rental housing projects;
  • Facilitate funding for TOD programs and projects;
  • Monitor TOD implementation and recommend needed policy and statutory changes; and
  • Review Capital Improvement Project requests for TOD on State lands.

For information regarding TOD Council meetings, please click here or on the link in the sidebar to the right.

Click here to view Act 130, SLH 2016
Click here to view a summary of Act 130, SLH 2016

Other TOD-Related Legislation Enacted in 2016

Act 131 (HB 2293)

Allows HHFDC to develop mixed-use developments in partnership with State and county departments and agencies.
Click here to view Act 131, SLH 2016

Act 132 (HB 2305)

Authorizes the creation of Regional State Infrastructure Improvement Subaccounts within the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund and the use of the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to provide loans and grants to finance regional state infrastructure improvements in areas of planned growth.  Also allows repayment from assessments or fees which capture property value increases (IDs or TIF).
Click here to view Act 132, SLH 2016

Act 127 (SB 2561)

Establishes a goal of developing or vesting the development of at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units statewide ready for occupancy between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2026. Also establishes a temporary special action team on rental housing to make recommendations to the Governor, Legislature, and other parties to achieve the goal.
Click here to view Act 127, SLH 2016


The State of Hawaiʻi is the largest landowner along Honolulu’s 20-mile rail transit corridor, owning about 2,000 acres of land within a half-mile radius of the 21 stations.  As construction of the Honolulu rail transit system progresses, the State has a unique opportunity to enhance Oahu’s urban environment by applying smart growth and transit-oriented development (TOD) principles to revitalize neighborhoods, increase affordable housing, and improve accessibility to public facilities and services.  On the Neighbor Islands, similar smart growth and TOD principles can be applied effectively in the provision of State facilities and services to encourage quality growth and vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods in urban or rural centers.

In 2012, OPSD and Smart Growth America convened a Project Stakeholders Group to develop a TOD implementation strategy for State agencies, entitled “Leveraging State Agency Involvement in Transit-Oriented Development to Strengthen Hawaii’s Economy.”  This effort included three workshops and involved over 40 government and private and non-profit organizations.

In 2015, the State Transit-Oriented Development Task Force was formed, chaired by Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland.  Monthly meetings were held to coordinate State agency projects and plans in the TOD areas surrounding the rail transit stations in Honolulu.  A status report to the Governor and Legislature was prepared in December 2015.


If you have any questions about the State’s TOD efforts, please contact staff at OPSD – Land Use Division by email at [email protected] or by phone at (808) 587-2805.