Environmental law requires this review and acceptance by the Governor before the FTA can issue a Record of Decision, which will clear the way for groundbreaking and the eventual employment of thousands of Honolulu citizens to build the system.
Speaking to a crowd gathered before the City Hall’s steps at 5 pm, Hannemann said the FTA’s action concludes the EIS process, which began years ago. The FEIS contains comments from hundreds of individuals and organization that were submitted in response to the release of the Draft EIS in November 2008. The FEIS includes all of those comments and responses from the project.
Hannemann said the FTA action is a crucial step on the way to final action on the rail project, which will benefit Oahu residents for generation to come. His statement read:
The laws that require environmental impact statements are pretty clear on what the next steps should be. With the FTA’s transmittal of the FEIS to the State, the document is now formally on the way to the Governor’s desk.
Under the law, the Governor must evaluate the completeness and adequacy of the FEIS insofar as environmental, historic and cultural issues are concerned. Hannemann said in remarks published over the weekend that he believes rail will be stalled until a new governor is in office.
So there it is, the culmination of a long process to bring the Honolulu rail project to this point, with even more yet to be accomplished – if not this month or next, presumably by December. We'll post links to an online version of the FEIS soon. Here’s a sampling of media coverage of today’s event as of this evening:
• Pacific Business News
• Hawaii News Now
• Associated Press (in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser).