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            Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he is pleased that tonight’s 9-to-0 City Council vote on transit technology moved the City’s fixed guideway project forward, but is disappointed the council could not make a firm decision on a single technology.


            The Council unanimously advanced Bill 80 after amending it to allow for a rubber tire on concrete system, a magnetic levitation system, or a steel wheel on steel rail system. The bill advanced to final committee and full Council votes next month.


            “I am pleased that, for the first time, all 9 Council members voted to support transit,” Mayor Hannemann said.


Last month, an independent panel of experts commissioned by the Council selected a steel wheel on steel rail system. The Council’s vote reaffirmed that choice but left open the possibility of the other technologies.


“Tonight’s vote means that rail is still moving forward,” Mayor Hannemann said. “But it is a shame that the Council could not support the process it voted to create. The Council did not fully support the findings of the technical panel that a majority of Council members voted for.”


Hannemann said he remained confident that a steel on steel system would ultimately prevail because it is best for Honolulu and is the type of system most favored by the Federal Transit Administration. Of the 62 major FTA-funded transit projects since 1992, 56 were steel on steel systems, 4 were bus rapid transit systems, and two were extensions of rubber tire systems that were built in the 1980s.


The Mayor said he appreciated Council Transportation Chairman Nestor Garcia’s stated intent to continue working to educate the Council about the technology options.


“They should take the next month to ask the questions that they haven’t already asked themselves, and at the end of the month, pick a technology so that we can move forward with fixed guideway,” Mayor Hannemann said. “As I’ve stated repeatedly, the longer we delay, the more we’re going to pay.”


Mayor Hannemann said the Council’s continued indecision demonstrated the need for public education efforts such as the community meetings and television and radio programs the City has sponsored. The “Honolulu on the Move” show appears on Olelo Channel 54 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m.. The radio program is broadcast on Tuesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. on KHVH AM-830.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

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