Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hawaii governor urged to back Honolulu rail

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More than three-fourths of the Hawaii House of Representatives has signed a pro-rail letter addressed to Gov. Linda Lingle, urging her to review and accept a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed $5.5 billion Honolulu urban rail transit project.

The FEIS has yet to be released by the Federal Transit Administration, but supporters note the project is the only one in the state that is “shovel ready,” and fear any delay could jeopardize federal funding.

For her part, Gov. Lingle has questioned the cost of the project, and has also questioned the preference for an elevated urban transit system, as have critics of the plan, including pro-rail forces arguing that light rail transit would be a more desirable and cost-efficient option.

Supporters of the current plan say the need to provide construction jobs to aid the state economy should be a major consideration.