Hawaii law OKs phased approval of big projects

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Big construction projects in Hawaii like the Honolulu rail project could have an easier time moving forward under a new law signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Abercrombie signed a bill last week to allow the State Historic Preservation Division to approve state projects in phases rather than all at once depending on circumstances.

The bill is in response to a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling last year that forced Honolulu to stop development on part of the city's rail line.

Several state agencies and members of the construction industry support the law. They say it will save taxpayers money and help avoid delays in construction.

But Native Hawaiian, environmental and historic preservation groups say the law makes historic sites such as Native Hawaiian burial grounds more vulnerable to destruction through development.

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