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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  January 30, 2007

 

MAYOR PROPOSES TRANSIT SYSTEM’S ‘FIRST PROJECT’   

Minimum Operable Segment Would Run from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center

            Mayor Mufi Hannemann, through the City Department of Transportation Services, is recommending a 20-mile route between East Kapolei and Ala Moana Center as the “first project” – or minimum operable segment (MOS) – of Honolulu’s fixed guideway transit system.  The recommendation is contained in a resolution sent to the Honolulu City Council late yesterday.

            “This minimum operable segment is only the first project in what we and the community expect will be a larger system that connects the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa to West Kapolei,” said Hannemann. “The Federal Transit Administration requires all new systems to define an MOS when necessary as a first step toward obtaining federal funds. The choice of a first project is dictated by many technical considerations.

            “Getting this MOS off the ground allows us to begin scoping on the environmental impact statement, which will look at the entire locally preferred alternative. In other words, we’ll be doing the environmental studies that will allow us to proceed with the portions of the fixed guideway that are not in the first project or MOS.

            “We could proceed with those projects if, for example, more funds become available than the $3.6 billion we anticipate for the MOS,” said Hannemann.

            On January 6, 2007, Hannemann signed ordinance 07-001 into law defining the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for Honolulu’s High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project as a fixed-guideway system running from Kapolei to the University of Hawai‘i at Mânoa and Waikîkî.  The LPA, shown in the attached map, is Honolulu’s vision for a fixed-guideway transit system.  The ordinance calls for the administration to select the guideway’s alignment in the ‘Ewa and Salt Lake/Airport areas.

            The ordinance also tasks the administration with determining an MOS or first project.  The first project, essentially what Hannemann initially proposed last summer, is a segment of the

 

overall planned transit system that can be feasibly operated independently of the remainder of the system.  Construction of a first project is in keeping with the mayor’s objective of staying within City financial constraints while working towards long-term completion of the LPA.

            Subsequent to passage of the bill defining the Locally Preferred Alternative, the Department of Transportation Services evaluated several potential MOSs using the following criteria:

·       The MOS can be implemented with anticipated funding;

·       The MOS includes systemwide facilities, such as a vehicle maintenance and storage site, required for operation;

·       The MOS has independent utility and logical termini, meaning that it is able to provide substantial transportation benefit independent of any potential future extensions, and;

·       The benefits provided by the MOS meet Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requirements for federal New Starts funding.

            The MOS technical memorandum released separately today details four options that were evaluated against these criteria, prior to selection of East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, via North-South Road/Airport Alignment as the MOS.  The MOS is detailed on the attached map.

            Once the MOS is approved by Council, the Department of Transportation Services will begin scoping for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and preparation of an application to the FTA for permission to begin preliminary engineering on the MOS.

            The EIS will evaluate the MOS in detail within the context of the overall LPA.  The direct effects of construction and operation of the MOS, along with mitigation requirements, will be investigated in the EIS.  System-wide effects of the LPA will also be evaluated, to ensure that implementation of the MOS is compatible with future projects – extending the transit system to west Kapolei, Salt Lake, the University of Hawai‘i at Mânoa, and/or Waikîkî.

            The Council’s Transportation Committee is scheduled to take up the MOS resolution at its February 8 meeting.

 

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Contact:

            Bill Brennan, 527-6928

            Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

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