Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rail Start Is Key to Construction Industry in 2010

Pacific Business News wasted no time in starting the New Year with its January 1st assessment that “Hawaii’s construction industry is pinning its hopes for 2010 on Honolulu’s rail transit project….”

Groundbreaking has been pushed onward into 2010 due to what appears to be a fine-toothed combing of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement by numerous federal agencies. The delay seems to have quieted some who said the groundbreaking shouldn’t be rushed through before the end of the year. They got their wish, but an extended delay and review at the State level can’t be helpful to the economy.

Kyle Chock, Pacific Resource Partnership executive director, said in a Construction Industry review published by Hawaii Business magazine:

“Rail trumps all other projects. It will create the most jobs – an estimated 11,000 – and re-energize the economy. We will most likely get our share of federal dollars in the range of $1 billion, if not more.”

Hearings Need Focus

The Honolulu Advertiser’s editorial today said any hearings held by agencies of the State could become a “big distraction” if it strays from the project’s environmental impacts into issues that already have been settled.

“The rail project rises to the level of importance that bolsters the case for public hearings,” the editorial states. “But the aim should be the gathering of information that can move this project toward completion in the most environmentally responsible way – not a stalling tactic to derail the project….

“Revisiting (issues that have been settled) won’t do anything but needlessly delay this well-planned, much-needed public works project.”

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