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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mayor says federal EIS on Honolulu rail-transit project is 99% complete

Advertiser Staff

Mayor Hannemann held a press conference today on his recently completed trip to Washington, D.C., and said the federal environmental impact statement on the city’s $5.3 billion rail transit project is 99 percent done.

A programmatic agreement needs to be finished. Concerns remain from the Navy and Federal Aviation Administration, Hannemann said. Neither are critical, he said.

The mayor was asked if he intends to stay in office if the EIS is not completed even if it's after July. "We'll just have to wait," he said.

July 20 is the deadline for people to file nomination papers for 2010's fall elections and the mayor is expected to resign to run for governor.

Hannemann criticized Gov. Linda Lingle, suggesting she's raising concerns about the EIS for political reasons.

He said a legislatively mandated construction task force issued a report this week citing the $5.3 billion mass transit project as the main project that can be implemented to help bolster the economy. Lingle should have pointed that out in her State of the State address yesterday, he said.

Hannemann also took a shot at Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona for staying silent on the rail issue, pointing out that Aiona is a resident of Kapolei where traffic relief is most needed.

Aiona said today he supports mass transit.
"I have said from the very beginning that I support mass transit, however, concerns remain about the costs and the city's ability to fund the project."