Group says Lingle is stalling rail - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Group says Lingle is stalling rail

Alicia Maluafiti Alicia Maluafiti
Panos Prevedouros Panos Prevedouros
Governor Linda Lingle Governor Linda Lingle
Buzz Hong Buzz Hong

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On the steps of the state Capitol, Go Rail Go used signs with slogans and short speeches to blast Gov. Linda Lingle for not signing the Environmental Impact Statement that could get rail rolling.

"We risk $1.5 billion in rail funding the longer she sits on this EIS," Alicia Maluafiti said.

The group is ticked off by Lingle's statement Monday that she has a legal responsibility "to ensure that the EIS complies with Hawaii's environmental law."

Lingle said the Office of Environmental Quality Control must review 13,000 comments on the rail EIS.

"Their due diligence in this is to collect the comments. But they are the same comments and concerns that were addressed for the last five years," Maluafiti said.

But mayoral candidate and rail opponent Panos Prevodouris came to the governor's defense..

"Thirteen thousand comments were made to it," he said. "Are these responses accurate and appropriate? Who's going to check that? The governor's office. They are doing that."

In an interview with reporters after she voted at Honolulu Hale, Lingle defended asking for a financial analysis of the city's rail plan, citing its $5.5 billion price tag.

"We need to look at things in the context of an average family and what they can and cannot afford," she said.

Go Rail Go argues transit related jobs are on the line.

"Our guys need to work now. We have 30,000 people unemployed on Oahu," Maluafiti said.

"if there's no jobs, they don't receive a paycheck. This is why job creation for the construction workers is one of the most important issues," said Buzz Hong of the Hawaii Building and Construction Trades Council.

One thing is certain -- a war of words won't get the governor to move on rail before she's ready.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved

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