Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Legislature-Created Construction Task Force Says Honolulu Rail Top Priority, Urges FEIS Acceptance

An advisory body of local business and community leaders created by the 2009 Legislature recommends building the Honolulu rail transit project as its top priority to provide “a significant boost to the state’s economy.”

The state's Construction Industry Task Force released its findings this week and puts the Honolulu rail project at the top of its priority list:
The task force considers the Honolulu Rail Transit project to be its top priority. The project is expected to create 10,000 jobs during its construction phase – 4,000 jobs in construction alone – and provide a significant boost to the state’s economy. Recommendations include:
• Encouraging state approval of the rail project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) as expeditiously as possible;
• Asking the Legislature to preserve the county surcharge to fund Honolulu’s rail project;
• Encouraging the City & County of Honolulu to establish a semi-autonomous Public Transit Authority, which would oversee and manage construction, operations and expansion of the rail system; and
• Along with the Honolulu Rail Transit project, the construction of the University of Hawaii’s West Oahu campus will have a huge economic stimulus benefit to our economy.

Other priorities are workforce housing, improved efficiencies in the state’s procurement and permitting processes to reduce project delays and accelerating regulatory approvals and permits for large renewable energy projects.

The task force is chaired by Warren Haruki of Grove Farm and Maui Land & Pineapple. Other members are Perry Artates, Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund; Stanford Carr, Stanford Carr Development; Tom Foley, Thomas M. Foley, LLC; Michael Fujimoto, HPM Building Supply; Don Horner, First Hawaiian Bank; Rick Kahle, former director, State Department of Taxation; Ray Kamikawa, Chun Kerr Dodd Beaman & Wong; Micah Kane, former director, State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; Glen Kaneshige, Nordic PCL Construction; Paul Oshiro, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.; Bruce Robinson, Gay and Robinson; John Sabas, Sabas & Associates; Harry Saunders, Castle & Cooke Hawaii; Jeff Stone, The Resort Group, and Ron Taketa, Hawaii Carpenters Union.

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