Yoshioka focused on the thoroughness of the environmental process. As we noted last evening, he began by noting his frustration with the attention the architects’ have attracted (all his comments are recorded quotes or have been edited slightly to delete non-essential phrases):
“We’re very close, and I think we can get there in the near future. When that comes out, we really sincerely hope the Governor will be expeditious in reviewing it and accepting it. This is not an ‘approval’ process. All she has to do is accept this thing as a valid environmental document, and we believe this is a valid environmental document. So again, we encourage the process to move along. We will not short-change the environmental process, and we believe we’ve done all the work necessary. We don’t need to rehash this. Alternatives were looked at in the Alternatives Analysis. Let’s move on and let’s get this thing done.”
City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell also addressed the environmental process after Yoshioka’s comments:
“But we do hope that when we get to the stop of the stairs and knock on the door of Washington Place and we deliver the FEIS as approved by the FTA to her, that politics will not be part of this and that she will look at it in the same way that any FEIS should be looked at. That’s not going backward to the first step and asking should there be another alternative. That is not what is supposed to occur in this review, and we hope that she’s perhaps learned this lesson after the failure of the Superferry and the fact that no EIS was done.…. We see our kids furloughed. We don’t want to see rail furloughed. It is our best hope for true job creation. We’ve heard the Governor say in her State of the State that the focus is going to be job creation. We heard her yesterday on many of your channels saying she’s looking to the State Legislature for ideas on how to create jobs. This is that idea! It is the best idea. It is truly the only idea that will create jobs now. And so let’s go forward. Let’s get the FEIS done, and let’s get the Governor to then accept it."
Reporter’s question: “There were two safety-related issues that the AIA raised…. One, there’s an absence (in the City’s plans) of screen doors at the stations… And on a per-mile basis (inaudible but related to accident rate comparison of at-grade vs elevated transit).”
“Platform screen doors are a possibility. Right now, I think the station designs have not shown it, but that’s always a potential, and I think that will go along with the further design of the stations. The stations have not gone through final design yet, so that’s an issue that can be addressed during final design of the stations.”
Reporter’s question: “Any concern about the Governor planning to hold more hearings when the FEIS comes out?”
'Positive' News Challenged
Although the Honolulu Star-Bulletin prominently displayed a story on Tuesday that the Governor is “not sold on elevated project,” the paper did not send a reporter to this news conference. The Honolulu Advertiser’s reporter asked the safety-related questions, above, and nothing else. Honolulu’s four network-affiliated television stations sent three news crews among them, but only two of them aired coverage of the news conference at 6 pm. The others waited until their 10 pm newscasts, having missed the higher-rated 6 pm shows.