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San Francisco  -- Mayor Mufi Hannemann today addressed the American Public Transportation Association on “Positioning Rail in the World of Sustainability.” His presentation focused on Honolulu’s Rail Transit Project in the context of the City’s 21st Century Ahupua‘a plan.


            In attendance were APTA President William Millar, Federal Transit Administrator James Simpson, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary John Porcari, Cathy Zoi of The Alliance for Climate Protection and over 1,000 other guests from government agencies, the private sector and nonprofit groups.


            APTA’s 2008 Rail Conference is being held in San Francisco just days after an independent study by the Brookings Institution of Washington DC ranked Honolulu number one out of 100 major US metropolitan areas for having the lowest per capita rate of carbon dioxide pollution.


            Mayor Hannemann said he is proud of Honolulu’s high mark, and that the rail system will further improve our quality of life and enhance our city’s sustainability.


            “The Brookings report made it very clear: cities with rail transit systems have lower carbon emissions, and that’s an important reason for us to move forward quickly with this important project,” Mayor Hannemann said. “Transportation experts from all over the country are attending this conference because they recognize how important rail transit is to the future.”


            Creating an efficient multi-modal public transportation system is an important part of the City’s 21st Century Ahupua‘a plan, Mayor Hannemann explained to the conference.


“Building an efficient public transportation system is one of the specific goals of our 21st Century Ahupua‘a plan, named for the traditional Hawaiian land divisions that fostered sustainability and wise resource management,” said Mayor Hannemann. “Our rail system will provide an energy-efficient, non-polluting mode of transportation for Honolulu’s future generations, and the promise of affordable housing and sustainable lifestyles. It’s also the centerpiece of our integrated multi-modal transportation plan, which will include TheBus, TheBoat, bicycle lanes, walking paths and, of course, roadways for those who will continue to use their private vehicles.”


Mayor Hannemann also stressed the environmental benefits of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), community-based planning and smart growth. TOD is an integral part of Honolulu’s rail transit project, which provides opportunities for new housing, commercial space and public facilities along the rail line.


The Brookings report noted that Transit-Oriented Development “represents an important tool for shrinking carbon footprints by reducing vehicle miles of travel and associated fuel use.”


Mayor Hannemann informed the conference about the June 12 workshop the City is sponsoring at Honolulu’s Neal Blaisdell Center to outline the rail project’s schedule and opportunities for designers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to participate and partner with Hawaii firms.


“We really want to encourage teaming so that the capability of large firms can be complemented by the skill and firsthand knowledge of smaller companies,” Mayor Hannemann said. “We’re encouraging the creation of partnerships that will strongly benefit the City and the project.”


            Mayor Hannemann noted that both of San Francisco’s modern rail systems feature steel wheels on steel tracks: the Bay Area Rapid Transit system that links the city with surrounding counties, and San Francisco’s own Metro system that links its downtown area and waterfront with major residential neighborhoods.


            Also this week, the Mayor will be joined by City Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka, Department of Emergency Management Director Melvin Kaku and other city and state officials to inspect traffic management centers in Los Angeles, Austin, and Chicago. Honolulu is preparing to build a major new Joint Traffic Management Center at Alapai and King streets, which will also become headquarters for the City’s Department of Emergency Management.


            “Our Joint Traffic Management Center will optimize the coordination of traffic signals and become the nerve center for our public safety communications systems, so it’s very important that we examine the best practices of other cities,” Mayor Hannemann said. “We’re determined to create a highly successful multi-modal transportation system for Honolulu that will protect our environment and provide alternatives to clogged freeways and expensive gasoline.”


            Mayor Hannemann returns to Honolulu on Saturday.


Contact: Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Monday, June 02, 2008

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