Navy and FAA questions linger on rail route - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Navy and FAA questions linger on rail route

Mufi Hannemann Mufi Hannemann

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Time is money and changing the rail plan now would cost the city big-time. That's the mayor's message to critics as he pleads for patience on the still-unfinished environmental impact statement.

Back from his trip in Washington DC Mayor Mufi Hannemann says the federal government is still backing the project and the financial plan. However he does wish the final environmental impact statement was finished sooner.

He says final EIS is 99 percent done but there are two last issues involving the rail stations near the Honolulu International Airport and Pearl Harbor. The FAA is getting clarification on the runway protection zone. And the Navy is concerned about historic preservation near the Makalapa area in Pearl Harbor.

The mayor says none of it is a "show stopper." However he estimates a one year delay would cost $200 million. He is pleading with the governor to accept the project once it gets to her desk.

"Do you want to be remembered as the Governor who blew Superferry, threw the educational system in disarray, and now threw away the best economic project this state has going for itself? My answer would be no, no, no, no," said Mayor Hannemann. "She's become rapidly in my mind an anti-railer."

Governor Lingle's spokesperson said "the mayor needs to stop lying and stop making it personal. The governor wants rail done correctly and with a plan we can afford."

Hannemann criticized the governor for not mentioning rail in her state of the state speech, especially since a construction industry task force recommended the rail is the fastest way to produce jobs.

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