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CITY POSTS DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT    STATEMENT FOR ITS TRANSIT PROJECT

 

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Project is now available on the project website at http://honolulutransit.org/ .   The report contains technical and environmental information pertaining to the City’s proposed rail transit project. 

 

Mayor Mufi Hannemann said, “We took tremendous efforts to make the DEIS available to the public prior to its formal distribution and before the general election.   Those familiar with both state and federal regulations governing the EIS process know that documents are usually distributed after the statement and its supporting reports become available in printed version, and their availability is announced in appropriate official publications.”   

 

“Allegations have been made that the City somehow delayed the release of the DEIS.  Those allegations are absolutely false.  This is simply an attempt by some to obscure the findings of the release with political rhetoric as illustrated by the positive conclusions confirmed in the DEIS.”

 

Traffic

 

·       Without rail, traffic congestion will be far worse in the future – 43% greater than today. (Chapter 3)

 

·       Rail transit will reduce future traffic congestion by 21% along the Salt Lake route. With the airport route, the reduction is 23%.  It will be far easier to travel to work, school or home whether by rail, bus or automobile. In some cases, travel times would be half what they are today. (Chapter 3)

 

·       Rail transit is projected to remove 34,000 cars from the roads each weekday in the future, up from the 25,000 anticipated before completion of the DEIS. In some areas, the volume of cars will shrink by as much as 12% at rush hour. (Chapter 3)

 

·       Rail transit will save up to 16 million hours of travel time annually in the future. (Chapter 3)

 

Cost

 

·       Rail transit is affordable with the existing GET surcharge and federal participation. (page 6-9)

 

·       The Federal Transit Administration has already agreed to consider a request for $1.2 billion by the City. (executive summary)

 

·       Tourists pay approximately 30% of the GET surcharge. (page 7-7)

 

·       Rail transit is a cost-effective solution. (page 7-9)

 

·       Operating and maintaining the rail will cost $63 million annually for the Salt Lake Route and $68 million for the Airport alignment.  The fares will pay one-third of the cost.  This is 40% cheaper than operating buses carrying the same number of passengers.  (Chapter 6)

 

Environment

 

·       Rail transit poses no substantial effect to threatened, endangered or protected species. (page 7-8)

 

·       Energy consumption will be reduced in the future, as will air and water pollution. (page 7-8)

 

Economy

 

·       The rail project will create 11,000 new jobs.

 

“As we said before, the DEIS contains no surprises and supports our position that this project is good for Oahu.  Many in our community also recognize the substantial benefits and are supporting rail, including the Hawaii Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the Hawaii Chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association, and the American Association of Retired Persons, the Oahu Chapter of the Sierra Club, and many others from broad and diverse segments of our community.”

 

“In terms of those property owners whose properties may be impacted by the project, we have made every effort to deal with them appropriately and with sensitivity, communicating with them prior to the issuance of the document so that the owners are not rudely surprised by reporters knocking on their doors about possible land impacts.  The timing of  the release of the DEIS has precluded the City’s ability to meet face to face with property owners along the route as we were able to do with the owners in the first construction segment in the Waipahu area.  We have, however, already attempted to notify all property owners of known addresses by mail, but we have not yet had the chance to talk to all of them individually.  We are making every attempt to meet with them personally,” added the Mayor.  

 

Formal announcement of the printed version of the report’s availability is expected toward the end of November when the reports and appendices are printed and distributed according to the state and federal distribution requirements.  The public comment period of at least 45 days will begin after that announcement.

                                                    

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Contact: Wayne Yoshioka 768-8303

  

           

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

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