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            With proposals for a City Charter Amendment related to rail transit slated for consideration by the City Council’s Executive Matters Committee on July 30, Mayor Mufi Hannemann today reiterated his willingness to place such a measure on the November ballot.


            “My position has been very clear. As I have stated from the outset, we have been working with the City Council to find common ground on a Charter Amendment,” Mayor Hannemann said. “We have been moving forward with a proposed Charter Amendment that would establish a Public Transit Authority to properly oversee construction, operations and maintenance of a modern rail mass transit system.”


            Public Transit Authorities have long been established for such purposes in many mainland jurisdictions. Valley Metro Rail in the Phoenix area, the Utah Transit Authority and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority are examples that were created to provide public accountability over the construction, operation and maintenance of rail lines.


Establishing a Public Transit Authority is important because it would be a semi-autonomous entity similar in structure to the Board of Water Supply, Mayor Hannemann said. The Public Transit Authority would be comprised primarily of representatives from the private sector, appointed by the City Council and the Mayor. The Public Transit Authority should also include State representation.


            Mayor Hannemann again stated that his support for placing a more comprehensive Charter Amendment on the ballot would depend on the measure’s wording.


            “I would endorse language that would put the Public Transit Authority and the overall question of whether to proceed with rail transit together,” Mayor Hannemann said. “This is the clearest and most sensible way to present this issue to voters.”


            On Friday, July 18, Mayor Hannemann responded to media inquiries about a possible Charter Amendment by saying, “As I’ve stated previously, if at least 6 Council members are able to agree on a proposed Charter Amendment, we would certainly give it serious consideration. We look forward to discussing this issue, and other ideas on transportation-related Charter proposals, with the entire Council.”


Contact: Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Thursday, July 24, 2008

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