Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rail’s FEIS Issues Coming to a Head This Week

This blog’s five-day break since the most recent post mirrors the delay of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the City’s rail project. Both can be explained (charitably) by circumstances almost beyond the control of the participants.

Preparations for the March 28 memorial service for Cec Heftel, former Hawaii congressman and broadcaster extraordinaire from coast to coast and beyond, have eaten up quite a few of our hours, but at least there’s a future date certain when everything will come together.

That isn’t the case for the City. It seems the Federal Aviation Administration has held up review of the FEIS, as described in today’s Advertiser.

Federal officials will be in Honolulu this week to focus on the statement’s status, and the public undoubtedly will learn the “true facts” about the holdup that apparently involve the FAA.

Even after adjustments to the rail plan that will satisfy that agency, then there’s the approval process involving the Governor. It’s anybody’s guess how long that will take.

It’s also anybody’s guess how long the commute during rush hours will take a decade from now if the rail project isn't built. With rail, the travel time will be explicitly known each and every time a commuter boards the train. Without it, the delays could be grossly greater than today as both the population and vehicle numbers grow.

We trust the Governor’s concerns about the project’s finances will be satisfied and we won’t have to experience what travel would be like in this city without an alternative to traffic congestion.

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