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(Tues., Oct 5, 2010, San Antonio, TX,)—Honolulu Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka and other transportation officials today presented the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) 2010 Local Distinguished Service Award to former Mayor Mufi Hannemann at APTA’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.


APTA is a 1,500-member international organization based in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to strengthen and improve public transportation, and to ensure that it is available and accessible for all members of the public in communities across the country. 


The national award honors a transportation decision maker, elected official or private citizen who has contributed substantially to the public transit industry through policy, legislative initiative and leadership.


United States Representative James L. Oberstar, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, stated, “Mufi Hannemann is an outstanding choice for this award.  I have personally witnessed how hard he worked in Honolulu and in Washington, D.C. to secure funding and support for transit initiatives.


“Under his leadership, Honolulu’s rail project advanced from the drawing board to the premier transit project in the country.” 


Presenting the award to Hannemann today in San Antonio were Yoshioka, Roger Morton, President of Oahu Transit Services, and Joseph Magaldi, Chairman of the City of Honolulu’s Transportation Commission.


Hannemann noted, “Improving our city’s transit system was a top priority of my administration. I am deeply gratified that our hard work has been recognized by the country’s leading force in advancing public transit.”


Despite the economic challenges facing the local and state governments in Hawaii, the Hannemann administration increased Honolulu’s investment for TheBus. The City built new transit centers and purchased new vehicles for the bus fleet, including articulated buses that carry more passengers than a traditional bus and electric-hybrid vehicles. City government did not increase bus fares for the elderly or disabled during his tenure, despite the recession.


Hannemann also was a leader in advancing a new rail transit system for Oahu. He led a coalition of community members, business and labor groups in cultivating a broad base of support for rail, including approval of a pro-rail City Charter amendment by Oahu’s voters in 2008. In addition, Hannemann worked closely with the state Legislature, the Honolulu City Council, Hawaii’s congressional delegation and the Federal Transit Administration to develop local and federal funding sources for rail construction and operations.


The City and the FTA have completed work on the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement and are awaiting its acceptance by the State of Hawaii.


“An excellent public transit system is one of the hallmarks of a great city. It supports the economy by getting people to work, improves access to jobs and education and mobility for our seniors, helps protect our environment and improves our quality of life,” said Hannemann.