Oberstar was speaking via video conference yesterday from Washington as a participant on the Summit on the State of Physical Infrastructure in Hawaii.
Oberstar has been saying much the same for the past couple years, including during a 2008 trip here, when he said he’d fight for $900 million in federal funds for Honolulu rail. Since then, Washington transit officials have said the project is in line for $1.55 billion.
‘The Beauty of Transit’
Civil Beat’s other rail-related piece today is an interview with Gino Antoniello, vice president of Sumitomo Corporation of American, one of the firms that hopes to provide rolling stock for Honolulu Rail.
That’s not all we’re building for the next generations. Ground was broken for a wind farm in the Kahuku hills on Oahu’s North Shore just yesterday. New biofuel projects are approaching start-up, and other forms of renewable energy, including ocean thermal energy conversion, should finally get off the drawing boards sometime this decade.
All of this planning and building is for our children and their children. It’s what responsible communities do – and that includes not backing away from the burden of financing these projects. “We can’t afford it” is simply an opinion that carries little if any weight.
Which leads us to a final thought today. Some in the community, including Civil Beat, are intent on fostering a renewed debate on Honolulu rail at this late date, as if the main issues haven’t been thoroughly analyzed.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement has been delivered to the State for review and, one would hope, acceptance. We can’t imagine anything coming up in a new rail dialogue that isn’t addressed in the FEIS.
But if more Q-and-A is desired, it’s probably in the project’s best interests to encourage it. The more we hear from rail’s chief opponents, the stronger rail's case gets.